New Zealand 234-5 (Elliott 75no, Vettori 40) beat
Pakistan 233-9 (Umar Akmal 55, Butler 4-44) by five wickets
ICC Champions Trophy Semi-Final, Johannesburg
Grant Elliott scored an unbeaten half-century to guide New Zealand into the ICC Champions Trophy final after they beat Pakistan by five wickets in their semi-final in Johannesburg.
Pakistan reached 233 for nine before Elliott, schooled in Johannesburg, returned to his roots to end Pakistan's Champions Trophy dream and ensure that for the first time the Champions Trophy will be won by a side that has previous history of victory in the tournament.
The match could have gone either way before Elliott, dropped on 42 by Younus Khan, and Vettori pummelled Pakistan during the batting Power Play, Elliott hitting Umar Gul for two fours and a six in the 46th over and Pakistan delivering a host of no balls which hurt them badly.
They had bowled well to see off the threats of Brendon McCullum (17), Aaron Redmond (31), Martin Guptill (11) and Ross Taylor (38) but Elliott put on 104 for the fifth wicket with Daniel Vettori to get New Zealand to the brink.
Vettori was stumped for 40 as he tried to win the match with one big hit but the wicket came too late for Pakistan, thanks to the efforts of Elliot, who struck four fours and a six in his 103-ball innings of 75.
Earlier, Umar Akmal top scored with 55 and Ian Butler returned career-best figures of four for 44 but it took a last-wicket stand of 35 between Mohammad Aamer and Saeed Ajmal to help Pakistan avoid being bowled out inside their 50 overs.
Butler bowled impressively to dismiss Kamran Akmal (24), Shoaib Malik (2), Shahid Afridi (8) and Umar Gul (6) as Pakistan lost their way after Umar Akmal and Mohammad Yousuf (45) had put on 80 for the fifth wicket, a stand which was crucial after captain Younus's dismissal in the 21st over which saw Pakistan slump to 86 for four.
Vettori's ten overs of left-arm spin returned three for 43 with opening bowlers Kyle Mills and Shane Bond taking a wicket apiece and he will now lead his side against Australia on at Centurion on Monday.
© Cricket World 2009