One for 31 off four overs equated to a steady return to international cricket for Mohammad Amir, but his coach liked what he saw at Eden Park last night.

Amir opened the bowling in New Zealand's unsuccessful chase for 172 in the opening T20 and he was let down by his fielders, who spilled two catches.

But considering he's been out of the international game since 2010 courtesy of his spot fixing ban, Waqar Younis was a happy coach as New Zealand were dismissed for 155 in the final over of the pursuit to lose by 16 runs.

''I'm very pleased with Mohammad Amir's comeback. I thougth he bowled pretty okay," former pace great Waqar said last night.

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''He'll probably get better and better."

Add in a satisfying return for crafty veteran Umar Gul, who was playing just his third international since December 2014 and took two for 38, three wickets for left armer Wahab Riaz plus fine performances from spinners Shahid Afridi and Imad Wasim, and there was much to like in the collective bowling performance for Waqar.

''T20 is a tough game. It moves so fast.

''It's difficult to expect certain things from bowlers. You really have to work as a unit.
''If someone goes bad someone else has to cover that up. Umar Gul bowled one over where they took him on and the other guys came to the rescue.

''I'm expecting Amir to give breakthroughs with the new ball, which I think he's got the capability to do."

Of the two dropped catches - a sitter by Afridi when Kane Williamson was on six, and debutant Todd Astle before he'd scored by Sohaib Maqsood at point - Waqar admitted he wanted them taken for the bowlers' sake.

''It would have really given him that confidence at the beginning of the game.

''Unfortunately that's part of the game. I'm sure he knows that he will come back."

Pakistan's 171 for eight was down in large part to contrasting innings from opener Mohammad Hafeez, with a fine 61 off 47 balls, and a rapid 23 off eight from Afridi, which put plenty of impetus into the innings, which was threatening to fall short of being a really challenging target.

''We always know that when Hafeez gets going it's hard to stop him. Same goes for (New Zealand's Colin) Munro and some of the New Zealanders.

''They know their surfaces here very well. For me, why I want to praise Mohammad Hafeez is whenever you come on a tour, you never know what you're going to get first game.

''Playing here in Auckland you never know if it might around or bounce a bit more. I thought Hafeez adjusted really well. He took his time, and once he knew the pace of the pitch, off he went."

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson acknowledged Hafeez's performance and the 56 off only 27 balls by Munro.

''The way Colin played certainly got us to a point where we were in a strong position.
''Once he got out there were some poor decisions made under pressure and that's something we're going to have to rectify,'' Hesson said after New Zealand lost three wickets for one run in 10 balls.

''Everyone other than Colin and Hafeez probably struggled with timing.

''It was one of those surfaces where it was reasonably tough to start on, especially when pace was taken off the ball. The longer Kane (Williamson, who made 70 off 60 balls after a stuttering start) stayed the better he felt, but it was a tough wicket to get in on."

The teams meet in the second of the three T20s at Hamilton's Seddon Park on Sunday night.