WELLINGTON - New Zealand and Pakistan both have the opportunity to vault to the top of the Twenty20 world standings over the next 10 days, according to the congested rankings released on Tuesday.

Although they start their three-match series in Auckland on Friday with Pakistan ranked sixth and New Zealand seventh, they are equal on 114 points.

But with only four points separating the top seven teams, if either side can win all three matches they will replace the West Indies at the head of the table, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement.

If the series is settled 2-1, then the winner will leapfrog South Africa to fifth position. The New Zealand-Pakistan series features the return to international cricket of convicted Pakistani spot-fixer Mohammad Amir who has served a jail term and five-year ban from the game.

However, the New Zealanders, fresh from a 2-0 Twenty20 series win over Sri Lanka, maintained that the appearance of Amir was not an issue. "That is not something that worries us," all-rounder Grant Elliott said. "All we are concerned about is how good someone is on the cricket field.

"What I do know about Mohammad Amir is I played him in 2009 in the Test series and he was a very quick bowler then. It will be interesting to see how he comes back from what has happened. As a cricketer you need to focus on what is in front of you whether you are bowling or batting without that mentality it is very difficult to perform under pressure."

With a number of Twenty20 Internationals to be played in the lead up to the ICC World Twenty20 India in March, there is likely to be plenty of reshuffling at the top of the world rankings.

The biggest player movements in the latest list are Afghanistan's wicketkeeper-batsman M Shahzad and fast bowler Dawlat Zadran who both make the Twenty20 top 10.

Shahzad has jumped 12 places to eighth on the batting list after scoring 151 runs in two matches against Zimbabwe, while Zadran claims the bowling eighth spot after claiming five wickets in the same series.

Aamir returning to his best: After a five-year absence from international cricket, returning Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Amir is nearing his best, coach Waqar Younis believes.

The fast bowler was 18 when he was banned in 2011 for five years for his involvement in spot fixing. He also served three months of a six-month prison term.

Since serving his ban, Aamir has excelled in domestic first-class cricket and in the Bangladesh Premier League, and is set to take the field against New Zealand at Eden Park on Friday in the first of three Twenty20 internationals.

And while Younis has been impressed with what Aamir has shown to date, he believes the 23-year-old quick isn't yet back to his best.

"I think there's more to come - he's not at what you would probably have seen five years ago, but he's definitely thereabout," he said. "I guess once he's started playing at the international level, and he's played a few games and gets into it, you'll see the best of him."

Younis said the Pakistan team was supporting Aamir in his return to international cricket, saying the youngster had paid the price for his mistakes and should be allowed a fresh start.

Although there was still pressure on Amir, Younis was confident he would handle his return to top-level cricket.

"He was under pressure when he first arrived but he's fine, he's coping really well. The boys are helping him out to be part of the team, and I'm sure he's going to deliver the goods," Younis said.

Aamir will need to find his best as Pakistan look to rein in a Black Caps team which destroyed Sri Lanka in the second T20 at Eden Park on Sunday.

After edging to a three-run win in the first match, the Kiwis destroyed Sri Lanka in the second, Martin Guptill (63 off 25) and Colin Munro (50 off 14) in particularly unforgiving form. "The stats tell the story - they're playing some top cricket, and what they've done to Sri Lanka, that's something unreal," Younis said. "But I guess it's a different ball game against us."