WORLD TWENTY20 semi-final, Cape Town: Pakistan 147-4 (18.5 overs) beat New Zealand 143-8 (20 overs) by six wickets
Imran Nazir hit five sixes in his innings of 59
A blistering innings from Imran Nazir helped Pakistan book their place in the World Twenty20 final after a six-wicket victory over New Zealand in Cape Town.
The opener smashed 59 from 41 balls, ably assisted by partner Mohammad Hafeez (32), chasing a target of 144.
A middle order collapse had cost New Zealand vital runs after a promising start, Ross Taylor top-scoring with 37.
Umar Gul (3-15) was the pick of the bowlers, with good support from Fawad Alam (2-24) and Shahid Afridi (1-24).
Captain Shoaib Malik fittingly hit the winning runs with seven balls remaining, sparking celebrations among the players and new coach Geoff Lawson.
The scenes were in total contrast from the Cricket World Cup, a campaign completely overshadowed by the death of former coach Bob Woolmer and early exit in the group stages.
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori opted to bat first after winning the toss, hoping to set Pakistan an imposing target.
But a combination of poor batting and excellent bowling restricted New Zealand to 143-8 from their 20 overs.
The Black Caps made a solid start through openers Lou Vincent (28) and Brendon McCullum, despite a 15-minute interruption for rain.
But it was Alam, in the side for Salman Butt, who made the vital breakthrough in his first appearance of the tournament.
Ross Taylor was involved in two run-outs for New Zealand
The left-arm spinner took a fine one-handed return catch to send Vincent back to the bus shelter.
And New Zealand's hopes of a counter-attack in the final 10 overs were thwarted when they lost five wickets for just 33 runs.
Late hitting from Taylor, who took 17 off Mohammad Asif's final over, helped the Black Caps to a defendable total.
But a blistering start from the Pakistan openers saw the pair register a partnership of 60 before Hafeez was adjudged lbw sweeping Scott Styris in the eighth over.
Nazir continued his onslaught, smashing five sixes in his innings, before he too was trapped in front by Jeetan Patel in the 13th over.
The Pakistan middle order had a slight wobble when Vettori dismissed Younus Khan (4) and Shane Bond accounted for Afridi (6).
But Misbah-ul-Haq (16 not out) and captain Malik (26 not out) settled the nerves, the latter hitting Patel for a massive six over mid-wicket to secure the win.