ICC World Twenty20, Barbados: New Zealand 133-7 (20 ovs) bt Pakistan 132-7 (20 ovs) by one run
Butler was man-of-the-match after his 3-19
New Zealand snatched their first win of the Super Eight phase at the ICC World Twenty20 with a thrilling one-run win over defending champions Pakistan.
The Kiwis could only muster 133-7 batting first despite two sixes from Daniel Vettori in his 38.
But their pace attack ran through Pakistan's top order before the holders were revived by opener Salman Butt.
He reached 67 not out but crucially lost strike and Abdur Rehman was caught off the final ball of the game.
New Zealand went into the game with pacemen Ian Butler and Kyle Mills replacing all-rounder Jacob Oram and the youthful Tim Southee and it proved a shrewd move as Butler took the Man of the Match award for his 3-19 after Mills struck twice with the new ball.
Pakistan, by contrast, sent down 14 overs of spin during the first phase of the match and seemed to be in total control after an early assault by New Zealand's Brendon McCullum took his side to 34-0 midway through the fourth over.
But spin was introduced after Jesse Ryder flicked Mohammad Sami to deep mid-wicket and the next five overs yielded only 23 runs.
Martin Guptill departed for two when he was superbly caught by Umar Akmal sliding forward after racing in from long-on and slow left-armer Abdur Rehman claimed his second victim when McCullum holed out in the deep for 33.
Shahid Afridi decided to bring back seamer Mohammad Sami and it paid off instantly when his second delivery resulted in Ross Taylor feathering catch to the keeper and at the half-way mark, New Zealand were precariously placed at 61-4.
Vettori promoted himself to number five and after a steady start he shimmied down the wicket to swat Shahid Afridi down the ground for the first six of the match in the 13th over.
Scott Styris briefly injected some life into the innings in the 15th over with a six over extra cover followed by a pull for four next ball, but Afridi ended the fireworks when a quicker ball was chopped on to his stumps by the New Zealand all-rounder.
He also accounted for Gareth Hopkins, but Vettori, scything the ball in ungainly fashion predominantly to the legside, hit another six off Saeed Ajmal before he was run out in the final over.
Nathan McCullum thumped the last ball of the innings for six to boost the total but New Zealand's prospects looked bleak when Mills over-stepped in his first over, allowing Butt a free hit which he crashed through the covers for four.
Mills atoned with a well-pitched up delivery which Kamran Akmal edged into his stumps and New Zealand added a second wicket when Shane Bond, having conceded successive boundaries to Mohammad Hafeez, tempted him into fishing at a leg-cutter outside off stump and keeper Hopkins accepted an easy chance.
Butt looked to have guided his team to victory with a composed half century
In the next over Mills found some extra lift and movement to unsettle Umar Akmal and have him caught behind first ball as he tried to take evasive action.
Butt collected two fours to take his team to 35-1 after the six powerplay overs before Butler, having opened with a maiden from the Joel Garner End, was switched to the Malcolm Marshall End and struck with his first ball.
Misbah-ul-Haq appeared to get an inside edge on to his pad playing back, but umpire Ian Gould's windmill action sent him back to the hutch and worse was to come for Pakistan when, with 76 needed from 63 deliveries, the key wicket of Afridi was taken.
He had made 11 quite comfortably when he pulled a short one from Butler and Nathan McCullum dived forward to take an outstanding low catch at deep mid-wicket, sliding his fingers along the turf.
The equation had become 56 from 36 when Abdul Razzaq cut loose with two sixes and a four in four balls off Vettori.
Despite that, Razzaq looked out of sorts when he failed to make contact with four balls from Bond before lashing one high over mid-wicket which landed on the roof of the Sir Garfield Sobers pavilion.
But his peculiar innings ended on 29 when he mis-timed one off spinner Nathan McCullum, who conceded only 19 runs from his four overs, and was caught at deep mid-wicket.
With 22 needed from the final two overs Butt struck an exquisite six over extra cover off Mills and added two fours in the final over, bowled by Butler, but lost the strike by taking a bye off the penultimate delivery.
It all depended on Rehman, but he did not get hold of an attempted pull shot and Guptill took a safe catch in the deep to put the spirited Kiwis back in the hunt for a place in the last four ahead of their next game against England on Monday.
"It wasn't easy with the quality of the Pakistan spinners. We knew we had to get to 140 or 150 and we had a chance," Vettori said.
"We were a few short but we backed ourselves as a bowling unit and today we were outstanding really.
"Our destiny is in our hands. We know we've got to beat England now and hopefully we can do that in St Lucia."