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Pakistan canter past New Zealand


Imran Nazir helped Pakistan book their place in the Twenty20 World Cup final after an easy six-wicket victory over New Zealand at Newlands in Cape Town.

The Kiwis, having won the toss and elected to bat, made a below-par 143 as they failed to live with an incisive Pakistan attack of whom Umar Gul was the pick with three wickets for 15 runs.

And they were given a lesson in Twenty20 batting as Pakistan strode past their target with Imran Nazir's 59 off 41 balls proving decisive.

New Zealand were as surprised as anyone to be in the semi-finals having been given passage to the last four by South Africa's shock capitulation against India.

Rain interrupted the New Zealand innings briefly with the Kiwis making steady if unremarkable progress.

But Pakistan made the breakthrough in the eighth over when Faward Alam claimed Lou Vincent's wicket with a brilliant return catch.

Vincent had made 28 off 28 balls and he was followed in by fellow opener Brendon McCullum who was 26 off 27 when he was trapped lbw by Shahid Afridi.

The momentum was with Pakistan as Scott Styris (18) and Peter Fulton (10) failed to impress before falling to Umar Gul to leave New Zealand 85 for three and struggling.

The next four wickets fell for 20 runs with Daniel Vettori's trip to the middle the most futile as he was run out before facing a ball having sacrificed himself following a shambolic mix-up with Ross Taylor.

Shane Bond was then run out on 126 after more confusion with Taylor.

And, although he swung freely in the final over as he hit Mohammad Asif four, six, four and finished his innings on 37, Taylor did not redeem himself.

Mohammad Hafeez hit Bond for four off the first ball of the reply as Pakistan started quickly, reaching 19 in two overs.

Hafeez brought up Pakistan's 50 in the sixth over, lifting a six back over Mark Gillespie's head.

But he was claimed lbw by Scott Styris two overs later, having made 32 and a total of 60 for the first wicket in partnership with Imran Nazir.

Nazir brought up his own half-century with a six off Jacob Oram and he made 59 before he was trapped lbw by Jeetan Patel with Pakistan on 104 for three.

New Zealand then looked like making a game of it when Younus Khan feathered a thin edge off Vettori and was caught by McCullum.

And, when Shahid Afridi (six) was caught by Fulton off Bond, Pakistan were suddenly vulnerable at 111 for four after 14 overs.

But Shoaib Malik and Misbah-ul-Haq revived the Pakistan challenge and the captain hit the winning runs in the penultimate over with a majestic six off Patel.

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