Daniel Vettori felt New Zealand's ability to execute their game plan was one of several key elements that contributed towards his side booking a place in the Champions Trophy final. The Black Caps will meet Australia in the title decider after an unbeaten half-century from Grant Elliott helped them cruise to a five-wicket victory over Pakistan at the Wanderers. The captain Vettori led by example with a man-of-the-match performance, taking two wickets and making 41, part of a match-winning 104-run stand with Elliot, who finished unbeaten on 75, as New Zealand coasted past the 234-run target with 13 balls to spare. It was particularly pleasing for the skipper considering the current injury crisis that has seen the Black Caps lose Jacob Oram, Jesse Ryder and Daryl Tuffey during the early stages of the tournament. "It's very satisfying," Vettori said. "I think particularly because we've lost some critical players. "I'm really proud of the team. We've won all different types of games and we've got one more to go on a different wicket. Hopefully we've got one more left in us." Elliot, who held the innings together with his 103-ball knock, was himself a major injury concern ahead of the final with a thumb injury and Vettori offered full praise for his star batsman. He continued: "Grant Elliot was in doubt for the day but he managed to battle through with a broken thumb and played such an impressive innings. "It was an innings of character. He had his thumb injected, he couldn't feel it and he just guts it out. It wasn't a very memorable 40 but it was an outstanding 75. I think he'll be very proud of it and I know the team is proud of him." Elliot was not the only player who grabbed the plaudits, with Vettori also singing the praises of his bowlers, especially Ian Butler, who took a career-best four for 44, and Shane Bond. He said: "Tactics are all well and good but it's about the people who implement them. I think, particularly early on, the way the guys bowled, Shane Bond and Ian Butler allowed us to get into the game and allowed us to put pressure on Pakistan the whole way through. "The same with our batting, because we restricted them to 230, we were just allowed to cruise a little bit, but whenever we needed that little bit of impetus we got it from Ross Taylor and Grant Elliot." The Pakistan captain Younus Khan paid tribute to his opposite number, saying: "He was fantastic with his all-round performance. That's why he's a top player for New Zealand and I think he was the difference between the teams." Younus, though, felt his batsmen's inability to kick on only Umar Akmal (55) and Mohammad Yousuf (45) made significant impacts was key. "Our batting was disappointing, especially in the powerplays," he added. "We had a couple of good starts but the batsmen couldn't cash in. "Umar Akmal and Mohammad Yousuf did well but, if they stayed until the powerplay, we could have scored maybe 250-260."
* PA Sport