Battling NZ set up final date with Australia

Patient Elliott, Vettori dash Pakistans hopes

Battling NZ set up final date with Australia

Kiwi paceman Ian Butler celebrates the fall of a Pakistani wicket. AFPThere is something about the semifinals of major competitions that New Zealand have found almost insurmountable, and at various stages against Pakistan, they threatened to emulate their own diffidence before the enterprise of their skipper helped them set up a trans-Tasman title clash on Monday.

Pakistan failed to make the most of winning an important toss on another good strip by stumbling to 233 for nine, and New Zealand were making a real meal of it until Vettori (41, 42b, 3x4) decided to take things into his own hands, promoting himself to number six and setting up a match-winning stand of 104 (108b) for the fifth wicket with Grant Elliott (75 n.o., 103b, 5x4, 1x6).
New Zealand screeched to 234 for five to complete a draining five-wicket victory, ensuring that for the first time ever, there will be a repeat winner at the Champions Trophy.

Elliott, battling through a broken thumb, looked scratchy and totally out of sorts, and didn’t really find his feet until well after Vettori arrived at the crease. With the right-hander struggling to get a move on, it was left to Vettori to embrace aggression and show intent, and he did so in excellent fashion.

The first tipping point came when Younis Khan put down a sitter at cover to let off Elliott, on 42 out of 165 for four in the 40th over. The next came when New Zealand took the batting Power Play with 59 needed off the last eight overs, and amassed 55 in that five-over block to emphatically shut the door on Pakistan.

It was almost a given that the outcome of the match would hinge on how well New Zealand tackled the Pakistani spin threat of Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi. While the Kiwis handled them competently, if no more, by denying them great success, where they impressed was in seeing off the threat of the teenaged Mohammad Aamer and lapping up the more experienced duo of Umar Gul and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.
Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill perished early in the piece, trying to blast the Kiwis off to a flying start, and Aaron Redmond was undone by Ajmal, leaving Ross Taylor and Elliott to steady the ship.

Neither man was really fluent in adding 55 (80b) for the fourth wicket and New Zealand’s innings appeared to be going nowhere until the commanding Vettori came out, and turned the tide with an innings of character and intelligence.
In the afternoon, the 19-year-old Umar Akmal had revealed both those facets admirably in orchestrating a Pakistani rescue act until a poor decision from Simon Taufel sent him on his way.

Customary discipline

Pakistan failed to capitalise on winning the toss and a reasonably good start as New Zealand slipped into customary discipline, choking the runs and building pressure. Younis’ decision to swap places with Shoaib Malik didn’t work as both men fell cheaply, and at 86 for four in the 21st over, Pakistan had a fight on their hands.

Fortunately, they also had the experienced Mohammad Yousuf and the ebullient Akmal to fall back on. While Yousuf remained strokeless for large periods against a pace-oriented Kiwi attack, Akmal went after Vettori and shed the shackles with sparkling strokeplay before becoming, unfortunately, the Kiwi skipper’s 250th one-day victim.

Shaping to sweep the left-arm spinner, Akmal played man of the match Vettori on to his pads but was adjuged leg before by Taufel, by which time Yousuf had fallen after a stand of 80 (109b). Yousuf’s dismissal triggered a collapse of five for 32 in 32 deliveries before last pair Aamer and Ajmal lashed out to put on 35 entertaining runs.

DH News Service

score board

PAKISTAN

Nazir c Taylor b Bond    28
(40b, 6x4)
K Akmal c Redmond b Butler    24
(35b, 2x4)
Malik c Taylor b Butler    2
(7b)
Younis c Taylor b Vettori    15
(23b, 1x4)
Yousuf b Mills    45
(78b, 3x4)
U Akmal lbw Vettori    55
(62b, 7x4)
Afridi c McCullum b Butler    4
(4b)
Rana c Guptill b Vettori    8
(8b, 1x6)
Gul c Broom b Butler    6
(8b, 1x4)
Aamer (not out)    19
(20b, 4x4)
Ajmal (not out)    14
(17b, 2x4)
Extras (LB-6, W-5, NB-2)    13
Total (for 9 wkts, 50 overs)    233

Fall of wickets: 1-46 (Nazir), 2-61 (Malik), 3-69 (K Akmal), 4-86 (Younis), 5-166 (Yousuf), 6-181 (U Akmal), 7-183 (Afridi), 8-192 (Gul), 9-198 (Rana).
Bowling: Kyle Mills 10-0-46-1 (w-2), Shane Bond 10-1-54-1 (w-1, nb-1), Ian Butler 10-0-44-4 (w-2), James Franklin 8-0-33-0 (nb-1), Daniel Vettori 10-2-43-3, Grant Elliott 2-0-7-0.
Runs during: Power Play 1: 1-10 overs: 46/1; Power Play 2: 11-15 overs: 25/2; Power Play 3 (batting): 44-48 overs: 26/0.

NEW ZEALAND

McCullum c Afridi b Aamer    17
(16b, 1x4, 1x6)
Redmond c & b Ajmal    31
(55b, 5x4)
Guptill c Rana b Gul    11
(10b, 1x4, 1x6)
Taylor b Afridi    38
(61b, 1x4, 2x6)
Elliott (not out)    75
(103b, 5x4, 1x6)
Vettori st K Akmal b Ajmal    41
(42b, 3x4)
Broom (not out)    3
(4b)
Extras (B-2, LB-6, W-6, NB-4)    18
Total (for 5 wkts, 47.5 overs)    234
Fall of wickets: 1-22 (McCullum), 2-43 (Guptill), 3-71 (Redmond), 4-126 (Taylor), 5-230 (Vettori).
Bowling: Aamer 10-2-32-1 (w-2), Rana 8-0-57-0 (nb-3), Gul 8.5-0-48-1 (w-1, nb-1), Ajmal 8-0-39-2 (w-1), Afridi 10-0-41-1 (w-1), Malik 3-0-9-0 (w-1).
Runs during: Power Play 1: 1-10 overs: 44/2; Power Play 2: 11-15 overs: 20/0; Power Play 3 (batting): 43-47 overs: 55/1.

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