Sarfraz Ahmed struck his maiden half-century in only his second innings to power Pakistan to a seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the first Twenty20 international, in Dubai.
The wicketkeeper made the most of his promotion to opener to blast an unbeaten 76 - reaching his fifty off 40 balls - as his side chased down the Black Caps' 135-7 with five overs remaining.
Pakistan, who chose to field, pushed hard from the off and reduced their opponents to 15-3 after just three overs - Anwar Ali trapping Kane Williamson lbw first ball for a duck before Anton Devcich and Ross Taylor fell for single figures.
Opener Martin Guptill (32) led the recovery, putting on 46 for the fourth wicket with Corey Anderson, who hit four sixes off 37 balls in his highest Twenty20 score of 48.
The left-hander added a further 51 for the fifth wicket with Luke Ronchi (33), who fell in the final over bowled by left-arm pacemen Sohail Tanvir (2-24).
Pakistan’s chase began confidently, Awais Zia striking a run-a-ball 20 as he put on 51 for the first wicket with Sarfraz before he was beaten by a bullet throw from Devcich.
In the following over - and right on the midpoint of the innings - New Zealand’s ground fielding earned them a second wicket as Ronchi’s direct hit caught Mohammad Hafeez (two) short of his ground.
At 60-2, Pakistan needed 76 from the final 60 balls to win and Sarfraz immediately cut loose, taking consecutive fours off Anderson before bringing up his fifty with a six over midwicket - the over costing 17 in total.
Haris Sohail, trying to keep pace, picked out midwicket off the bowling of Mitchell McClenaghan to go for 11 but by then Pakistan needed just over six-an-over to win.
Umar Akmal picked up three fours off the 16th over, bowled by Matt Henry, to all but seal the contest and he completed the job by striking the first ball of the final over from James Neesham over long on for six to finish on 27no off just 14 balls.
New Zealand won’t have to wait long to try and level the series as the teams will meet again in the second Twenty20 international on Friday.