Both sides are unchanged from Wellington, meaning Kuldeep Yadav continued to sit out with India fielding three allrounders in the Pandya brothers - Hardik and Krunal - and Vijay Shankar.
India started well with the ball after New Zealand won the toss and opted to bat, taking early wickets then being economical at the end of the innings.
India have levelled their Twenty20 series against the Black Caps, setting up a decider at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday.
Sharma's knock was his 16th T20 half century and took his career tally in the format to 2,288 runs, overtaking New Zealand's Martin Guptill on 2,272.
New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell was given out lbw on the field to Krunal Pandya and the decision was upheld by TV umpire Shaun Haig despite HotSpot indicating the batsman had inside-edged onto his pad.
A look at the predicted Indian XI for the for the IND vs NZ 2nd T20I in Auckland.
Opener Tim Seifert took the Indian bowlers to cleaners with a 43-ball 84 and visitors must have a plan to contain him on Friday.
The team could replace Ahmed with either Siddharth Kaul or Mohammad Siraj, who warmed the bench on Wednesday.
Kedar Jadhav was a surprising omission in the first game but is likely to come in here after India struggled so badly in the first match whilst Shubman Gill is another option to come in if the Indians decide to mix up their team. "We believe that whatever the target is in front of us we can chase it down, but we just couldn't do it tonight", said a disappointed Rohit after the game.
The onus was now on Vijay Shankar and Rishabh Pant to finish the match.
# Skipper Kane Williams comes to bat at No.3! India would dearly hope Dhawan comes to the party at Auckland as the Men in Blue take on hosts Blackcaps in a must-win tie.
Meanwhile, the unsafe opening duo of Colin Munro and Seifert put the Indian pacers under tremendous pressure early on in the innings during the first match and dismissing them cheaply will be crucial for the visitors' chances.
The short boundaries notwithstanding, New Zealand persisted with two spinners - allrounder Mitchell Santner and legspinner Ish Sodhi.
# A good first over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar as he has conceded just three runs to New Zealand.