Elliott secures victory after Butler opens door

Pakistan 233-9 v New Zealand 234-5 (NZ win by 5 wickets)
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The Independent Online

Grant Elliott struck an unbeaten 75 to steer New Zealand to an emphatic five-wicket win over Pakistan in the Champions Trophy semi-final. After Pakistan had posted 233 for 9, Elliott led his team to victory with 13 balls to spare. The Kiwis will face Australia in the final at Centurion tomorrow.

Elliott hit five fours and a six in his 103-ball innings, sharing a stand of 104 for the fifth wicket with his captain, Daniel Vettori (41). The latter was stumped off the off-spinner Saeed Ajmal with his side just four runs short of victory.

It could have been a different story if Pakistan's captain Younis Khan had not dropped Elliott on 42 off the bowling Mohammad Aamer.

New Zealand had struggled to 71 for 3 before Elliott and Ross Taylor combined for a partnership of 55. Taylor was then bowled by the leg-spinner Shahid Afridi for 38. Ajmal was Pakistan's most successful bowler with 2 for 39 in eight overs.

Earlier, the paceman Ian Butler had taken four wickets after Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat. He claimed career-best one-day international figures of 4 for 44, fighting back in style after his first two overs had cost 20 runs.

Pakistan's score was built around Umar Akmal's half-century. The 19-year-old, playing in only his eighth one-day international, scored 55 off 62 balls before being trapped leg-before by left-arm spinner Vettori.

Akmal helped Pakistan to recover from 86 for 4 by putting on 80 for the fifth wicket with Mohammad Yousuf (45). Yousuf was dismissed when he played a delivery from seamer Kyle Mills on to his stumps.

Spinner Vettori, 30, bowled with guile to take 3 for 43, reaching 250 one-day wickets in the process.