ICC World Twenty20, St Lucia:
Pakistan 148-7 (20 ovs) bt South Africa 137-7 (20 ovs) by 11 runs
Pakistan had to dig deep to secure their victory
Holders Pakistan crept into the World Twenty20 semi-finals thanks to a victory over South Africa and England's later win over New Zealand in St Lucia.
Pakistan, after two Super Eight losses, knew they had to beat the Proteas to keep their semi-final hopes alive.
And Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi set up that win with some brutal batting as Pakistan hit 148-7 after a slow start.
South Africa stumbled to 137-7 in reply and that, combined with New Zealand's loss, saw Pakistan into the last four.
Their progress came courtesy of a better net run-rate than South Africa and New Zealand, who both bow out of the competition in the West Indies.
"I guess you run out of excuses, it was just not good enough again," said Smith, whose side have a poor record in major competitions.
"AB (de Villiers, who hit 53) was the only one who really played. That's been the story of our tournament - we have struggled to get it together in all three disciplines.
It was not a good start, but then Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal and myself, those partnerships were good, and 140-150 is a good total on this track. I always believe a captain's performance is very important
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi
"You always say you've got to learn your lessons. You have to say, with the talent in South Africa, it's not good enough to perform at this level."
Pakistan captain Afridi was delighted with the way his side fought back after slumping to 18-3 in their innings.
"The boys performed really well," he said. "It was not a good start, but then Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal and myself, those partnerships were good, and 140-150 is a good total on this track.
"I always believe a captain's performance is very important."
South Africa rarely looked capable of overcoming a Pakistan team that recovered impressively from a stuttering start after winning the toss and opting to bat in St Lucia.
Mishit hooks accounted for Salman Butt and Khalid Latif, the latter brought in at the expense of Mohammad Sami, as short deliveries from Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis were skewed to mid-wicket, while Mohammad Hafeez added just one before missing a straight one from Charl Langeveldt.
At end of the seventh over Pakistan were 23-3 and on course for a paltry total of 66, but Kamran Akmal and brother Umar combined to emphatically expose the Proteas' selection of spinner Roelof van der Merwe ahead of paceman Morne Morkel, their leading wicket-taker in the tournament before play began.
Umar Akmal hit four sixes in his match-winning innings of 51
Comfortable against Van der Merwe's gentle spin, the pair lashed 51 in just six overs, Kamran smashing a couple of sixes back over the slow left-armer's head and Umar doing likewise on the slog-sweep.
It took a fabulous diving catch at backward point from Herschelle Gibbs to end Kamran's assault and exact some measure of revenge for Van der Merwe, but that only brought captain Shahid Afridi to the crease and he and Umar continued the assault.
Umar swept Albie Morkel for six and punched Dale Steyn over the mid-wicket fence.
And Afridi launched flat maximums over mid-wicket and long-on as the pair put on 61 off 33 balls.
Langeveldt, whose 4-19 were the best bowling figures of the tournament so far, accounted for both in quick succession, though, and then also took the wicket of big-hitter Misbah-ul-Haq as Pakistan eventually reached 148-7 off their 20 overs.
It was an honest, if unspectacular, total from Pakistan, but it began to look a match-winning one as South Africa struggled early in their reply.
Herschelle Gibbs, promoted to open with Kallis pushed into the middle order, was sent packing by a fabulous catch above his head by Misbah on the edge of the circle at mid-wicket, before the out-of-touch Smith spooned a simple one to Afridi at mid-on.
Kallis and De Villiers went about rebuilding the Proteas' innings, but adopted a circumspect approach and failed to get a boundary in four overs to leave themselves 100 to get from the last 10 overs.
South Africa never got close. Umar Akmal collected an excellent catch diving forward on the run in from long-on to dismiss Kallis, before Latif held on at deep midwicket as JP Duminy finally tried to hit out.
De Villiers smashed 20 off one Abdur Rehman over on his way to 53 as South Africa briefly threatened a late rally, but when he fell top-edging an attempted outrageous flick over the keeper's head, the Proteas had too much to do.
Morkel and Mark Boucher, before he was trapped plumb in front by Saeed Ajmal, swung from the hip for the occasional boundary, while Johan Botha belied his lowly position in the batting order with a series of late boundaries that left South Africa needing 17 from the final over.
Ajmal had Botha stumped in a superb final over that yielded just five runs, though, as Pakistan just about kept their tournament hopes alive.