Pakistan will look to finish off the quickfire T20 international series with another win when they host New Zealand in the 2nd T20I in Dubai on Friday.
Sarfraz Ahmed was the man of the match for Pakistan in the first T20 on Thursday, with the wicketkeeper-batsman, who only opened the innings owing to an injury to Ahmed Shehzad, striking a brilliant unbeaten 64-ball 76 to help his team ease to the target of 136.
"I think it's been a good seven-eight months that he has started coming out of the shell and is trying to play his own game," Pakistan coach Waqar Younis said. "He's a stroke-maker and he likes to play his shots and when he's free, when he's got less pressure on him, I feel that he plays a lot better than anybody else.
"Freedom has been given to him to play the way he plays. He has been coming good for Pakistan, he has been in a very good nick, so it's good to take advantage of that form he is in."
New Zealand struggled to get going in the first innings after being put into bat, losing key wickets early and towards the end, with only Corey Anderson getting anywhere near a good score, making 48 from 37 deliveries. However, 135 for seven in 20 overs was never going to be remotely good enough to seriously test Pakistan.
"The turning point was probably Sarfraz's innings, he batted really well through the entirety to end up 70 whatever not out," said New Zealand's own wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Ronchi said. "That's the difference I think -- we didn't have anyone get to 50, while he sort of anchored their innings and batted the way through."
Pakistan will soon have a decision to make over who to open with when Shehzad, their normal opener, does make a return from a head injury suffered in the first Test against New Zealand. However, for now, Waqar is more than happy to let Sarfraz do his thing.
"Ahmed is one of our finest openers, it is not that he will be ignored, probably in the one-dayers [he will return], by when he is hopefully completely fit, he will be back in his spot," added the former fast bowler.
"Since Kamran Akmal sort of faded away, it's something we always had an issue with. So I think it's good to have someone who can keep wicket well and bat well too."
Pakistan are also filled with options in the fast bowling department, with Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz, making their comebacks from injuries, unable to get a game. "They are definitely fit, they are here to play but as I said we are spoiled in choice when it comes to fast bowling or medium-pacers," added Waqar. "So it is hard to get into the team right now, but it's good to have a strong bench."
Where to Watch Live
The 2nd T20I is set for an 8 pm local time (9.30 pm IST, 9 pm PST, 4 pm GMT) start with live coverage in India provided by Ten Cricket and Ten HD. Ten Sports and PTV Sports will show the match live in Pakistan.
Watch the game in the USA on Willow TV, while the option is also there to live stream the action on Willow TV Online. Viewers in Africa can catch all the action on SuperSport or SuperSport online, while audience in the Middle East can watch the match on Ten Cricket UAE.
Expected lineups: Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed, Awais Zia, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi (capt), Saad Nadim, Anwar Ali, Sohail Tanvir, Raza Hasan, Mohammad Irfan.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill; Kane Williamson (capt), Anton Devcich, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, James Neesham, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Matt Henry, Mitchell McClenaghan.