Elliott, Vettori guide New Zealand into final:
Grant Elliott braved a thumb injury with an impressive half-century
as New Zealand stormed into the Champions Trophy final with a
five-wicket victory over Pakistan here on Saturday.Elliott cracked an
unbeaten 75 to help his injury-hit team achieve a 234-run target with 13
balls to spare. New Zealand will now clash with defending champions
Australia in the final on Monday.
New Zealand, who have lost five of their six semi-finals against
Pakistan in one-day internationals, improved that record with a superb
all-round performance in the day-night match.
Paceman Ian Butler grabbed a career-best 4-44 and left-arm spinner,
and skipper, Daniel Vettori finished with 3-43 to restrict Pakistan
before Elliott completed the victory with a brave 103-ball knock,
including one six and five fours.
New Zealand, who had lost Jesse Ryder, Jacob Oram and Daryl Tuffey
during the tournament to injuries, were sweating over Elliott's fitness
on the eve of the match, even summoning Scott Styris as cover.
Elliott received valuable support from Vettori (41), adding 104 for
the fifth wicket to ensure his team's second appearance in the final of
this tournament. New Zealand were the winners in 2000 in Nairobi.
Vettori was named man of the match for his all-round performance.
Pakistan's best chance of keeping pressure on New Zealand came in the
40th over, but skipper Younus Khan dropped Elliott in the covers off
paceman Mohammad Aamer. The batsman was then on 42.
Debutant Aaron Redmond (31) and Ross Taylor (38) were the other
notable contributors for New Zealand.
Pakistan earlier looked set to reach a challenging total following
teenager Umar Akmal's solid 55. They were 174-5 in 40 overs before
Vettori and Butler struck in quick succession.
The 19-year-old Umar, brother of wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran, looked
unhappy with Australian umpire Simon Taufel's decision when given out
leg-before while attempting to sweep Vettori.
It appeared from the television replays that he had inside-edged the
delivery on to his pads. Akmal cracked seven fours in his 62-ball knock
for his second half-century. Butler then grabbed a big wicket when he
had Shahid Afridi (four) caught behind to send Pakistan struggling at
Teenager Aamer (19 not out) and Saeed Ajmal (14 not out) added 35
runs off 34 deliveries for the last wicket. Aamer hit four boundaries,
including three in paceman Shane Bond's over.
Umar and Mohammad Yousuf steadied the innings with an 80-run stand
for the fifth wicket after Pakistan had been reduced to 86-4. Yousuf
made 45 before inside-edging a Kyle Mills delivery on to his stumps.
Pakistan started impressively after winning the toss on a good
Wanderers pitch, with openers Kamran (24) and Imran Nazir (28) playing
attacking strokes to put on 46 in 9.4 overs. They failed to capitalise
on the start as they lost four wickets in the space of 40 runs, with
Butler grabbing two wickets and Bond and Vettori each taking one.