The BLACKCAPS will advance to the final of the ICC Champions Trophy against Australia after chasing down 234 in the semi final against Pakistan at The Wanderers.
The chase wasn’t without it jitters but a measured half century from Grant Elliott and typically dogged knock from Daniel Vettori set up the five wicket win.
Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat but the BLACKCAPS bowling line up was on target early, consistently producing a nagging line and length that troubled the top order.
Shane Bond produced a mixture of short deliveries and leg cutters that frustrated the openers, eventually having Imran Nazir caught at first slip for 28.
Ian Butler then struck twice with the wickets of Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik to have the first three batsmen dismissed inside 15 overs.
Early wickets combined with the introduction of Vettori slowed the run rate and built pressure. It was too much for Younus Khan who was out foxed by Vettori, spooning a simple catch to cover leaving Pakistan teetering at 86 for four.
Slowly but surely Mohammad Yousuf and Umar Akmal went about resurrecting the innings, putting on 80 for the fifth wicket before Kyle Mills broke the partnership when he bowled Yousuf for 45.
Akmal brought up his half century in the 40th over but was unluckily giving out LBW off the bowling of Vettori in the very next over, reducing Pakistan to 181 for six.
The wickets continued to tumble as Ian Butler had danger man Shahid Afridi caught behind for 4 and Umar Gul caught at cover point for 6.
Vettori had his third when Naved-ul-Hasan tried to hit him out of the park only to be caught at mid-wicket.
A late flurry from seventeen year old Mohammad Aamer and Saeed Ajmal frustrated the BLACKCAPS attack, taking the score from 198 to 233.
Butler finished with career best figures of four for 44. Vettori was next best with three for 43.
In reply, opener Brendon McCullum carried on from where he left off against England, hitting a six off the second ball of the innings but it wasn’t his day as he was caught for 17 in the fifth over.
In form Martin Guptill went for 11 with debutant Aaron Redmond out for 31 to have the BLACKCAPS 71 for three.
Ross Taylor was left to hold the inning together and did a nice job of accumulating runs, putting on 55 with Grant Elliott. He looked to accelerate the run rate, hitting Alfridi out of the ground which required a new ball to be brought out and with that came his wicket as he was bowled for 38 off the next delivery.
With 108 still required and the run rate creeping up Daniel Vettori came to the wicket, and along with Grant Elliott, guided the BLACKCAPS to victory.
Elliott played conservatively early on but cut loose once he reached his half century ending with the top score of 75 not out.
Man of the match Vettori tried to finish the match with a boundary but was stumped for 41 with only four required.
The BLACKCAPS will play Australia in the Final at Centurion on Tuesday 6 October at 1:30am (NZ time), (Monday 2:30pm local time).