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Kiwis set up final with Australia

ICC Champions Trophy semi-final, Johannesburg: New Zealand 234-5 beat Pakistan 233-9 by five wickets
Match scorecard

Grant Elliott
Elliott survived some tense moments to hit 75 not out

By Oliver Brett

New Zealand made heavy weather of their run chase but reached the Champions Trophy final with a five-wicket win over Pakistan in Johannesburg.

Grant Elliott (75 not out) and Daniel Vettori (41) put on 104 for the fifth wicket as Pakistan's 233-9 was overhauled with 13 balls remaining.

And that means New Zealand will face England's conquerors Australia in Monday's showpiece final in Centurion.

Pakistan's dream of a second ICC title in just over three months was ended.

Following their surprise success in England in the World Twenty20, Younus Khan's team were unable to deliver at the semi-final stage on this occasion having posted a moderate score on a good batting wicket.

New Zealand celebrate a Pakistan wicket
New Zealand's bowlers were well led by Ian Butler, who took a fine 4-44

They hung in, though, thanks to some intelligent bowling from the spinners and 17-year-old fast-bowling sensation Mohammad Aamer, only to be undone when Vettori and Elliott called for the final powerplay with 59 wanted from 48 balls.

Vettori, whose partner Elliott had batted ponderously at times, took the initiative as his trusty on-drive brought him boundaries off Saeed Ajmal and Aamer - and when the disappointing Rana Naved-ul-Hasan gave away two free hits off no-balls, New Zealand's life got easier.

Elliott, horribly dropped by Younus Khan on 42, suddenly found his confidence to smash a six and two fours from Umar Gul - and all the tension suddenly evaporated.

Younus blamed his experienced batting line-up for failing to set a challenging target.

"I think we were about 20 or 25 runs short. At one stage, we looked like making 250, but all the time we are struggling in the powerplays and we collapsed. The plan was that someone from the top four should stay, but it didn't happen."

He also acknowledged that his dropped catch may have been costly: "If I take that catch, maybe things may have changed, but in sports this is not the first time."

Vettori was man of the match after a fine all-round display which also saw him take three catches and display some fine captaincy skills.

606: DEBATE
Suryastra

He said: "It all started with the way we bowled. It was a score we fancied we could chase. We have not been a consistent side, but we have managed to do that here."

"We were always thinking of making it 60 off 60, we didn't quite get there but with the powerplays, it makes such a difference. Elliott was great against Gul in that over which took the game away from them."

These two teams had last played each other in one-day internationals three years ago, and their last Test meeting was in 2003.

The early sparring certainly gave the impression that they were trying to work each other out, but Imran Nazir showed some attacking flair with two pulls and a cover-drive - all disappearing for four - in Ian Butler's first over.

But Nazir fell after splicing an unpleasant delivery from Shane Bond to slip and Shoaib Malik, the scorer of a brilliant century against India, played a dangerous shot at the start of his innings against Ian Butler and paid the price - Ross Taylor taking a good tumbling catch at slip.

If honours were even at that stage, then it was very much New Zealand who were on top after 15 overs after Kamran Akmal picked out the man at deep cover, leaving the scoreboard on 71-3.

Younus Khan
It was a bad match for Pakistan skipper Younus Khan

Things continued to go the way of the Black Caps when Vettori entered the attack, striking in his second over to send back opposing skipper Younus, who compliantly chipped a catch to short extra-cover off a leading edge.

And as Pakistan's veteran of the middle order, Mohammad Yousuf, elected to shut up shop, the men in green limped along to 118-4 after 30 overs - victims of a supreme stifling job from New Zealand.

Umar Akmal was beginning to look busy, cutting Vettori for consecutive fours, and when nine runs came off a Bond over the innings run rate finally moved significantly beyond four an over.

Yousuf chopped Kyle Mills onto his stumps having made a pedestrian 45 from 78 balls before Akmal hit 10 runs in a James Franklin over to reach his half-century.

That left it 174-5 with 10 overs remaining, and with the batting powerplay remaining there was still hope of a score in excess of 250.

But Akmal got a poor lbw decision from umpire Simon Taufel to fall for 55 - Vettori appealing vociferously despite a big edge from an attempted sweep - and Shahid Afridi got a thin edge as he faced up to the awkward bounce of Butler.

Reckless swishing from Gul and Naved made them easy prey for New Zealand's bowlers now, and it took an entertaining 35-run stand over the final 34 balls from Aamer and Ajmal, numbers 10 and 11, to show everyone how good the wicket was for batting.

Mohammad Aamer
Mohammad Aamer, 17, again showed his immense potential with the ball

Butler, who had figures of 0-20 from his first two overs, had ended up with 4-44 - a fine return from the 27-year-old from Auckland.

New Zealand, with a batting line-up lacking experience at the top level, were always likely to feel the pressure at certain stages of their chase.

First they had to deal with the prodigiously talented Aamer, who sent down his first seven overs for just 18 and picked up the huge wicket of Brendon McCullum, thanks to a good catch by Afridi running back from point.

Aaron Redmond, on one-day international debut, and the in-form Martin Guptill played Naved particularly well as New Zealand then reached 43-1 from nine overs, but Gul's first ball brought the second wicket, Guptill hoisting an easy catch to mid-on.

New Zealand continued to lose wickets at bad times, Redmond and then Taylor getting into the 30s before perishing to the Pakistan spinners - the latter bowled by Afridi one ball after hitting him onto Corlett Drive.

Elliott and Vettori were the men at the crease when 100 runs were needed from more than 18 overs, with six wickets still remaining.

But the tension appeared to get to them, particularly Elliott who looked very fortunate to survive an lbw shout by Afridi after almost giving a catch to Malik at point.

He then lobbed a chance off the returning Aamer straight to Younus at short extra-cover. It was probably the easiest catch a man could face in cricket, but the Pakistan captain floored it.

With boundaries not forthcoming, it was time for the New Zealand batting powerplay - and as Vettori floored the accelerator it was one-way traffic from then on.



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see also
New Zealand v Pakistan photos
03 Oct 09 |  Cricket
New Zealand v Pakistan as it happened
03 Oct 09 |  Cricket
Australia thrash England in semis
02 Oct 09 |  England
Nervy Australia book England semi
30 Sep 09 |  Cricket
New Zealand add O'Brien to squad
30 Sep 09 |  New Zealand
Kiwis defeat England to win group
29 Sep 09 |  England
Injured Ryder inspires NZ to win
27 Sep 09 |  Cricket
Malik hits ton as Pakistan win
26 Sep 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
ICC Champions Trophy 2009
05 Oct 09 |  Cricket


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