JOHANNESBURG, (Reuters) – Captain Daniel Vettori praised Grant Elliott after he batted with a broken thumb to lead New Zealand to a five-wicket win over Pakistan in yesterday’s Champions Trophy semi-final.
The all-rounder needed an injection before anchoring New Zealand’s run-chase with 75 not out off 103 balls.
Vettori said Elliott would need to have his thumb put in a splint for six weeks when the tournament ended.
“Grant played an innings of such character. He had his thumb injected and he couldn’t feel it and he just gutsed it out,” Vettori told a news conference after the Kiwis reached their target of 234 with 13 balls to spare.
“It was an outstanding 75 and he will be very proud of his innings and I know the team is really proud of the way he played,” the skipper added after New Zealand set up a final meeting with Australia in Centurion tomorrow.
Left-arm spinner Vettori also turned in a fine all-round performance, taking three for 43 and scoring 41 with the bat as he helped Elliott put on 104 for the fifth wicket.
“My main mission as captain is to lead by performance,” he said. “Sometimes the actual captaincy side of things is overrated.
“It is about the team and how they perform. I think my team will follow me if I perform.
“We have not played well lately, until this tournament. But there is a belief in this team now.”
Vettori was confident about New Zealand’s chances in the final.
“We know Australia will play well and we know they have great players but we have to think about what we are going to do,” he said.
“Hopefully the team that has played for the last three games turns up and gives us a chance of winning.”
Pakistan captain Younus Khan blamed his team’s defeat on a poor batting display.
After winning the toss and electing to bat Pakistan could only muster 233 for nine in 50 overs.
“Our batsmen got a couple of good starts but were not able to cash in. Yet again in this tournament we did not take advantage of our powerplays,” said Younus.
“Daniel’s all-round performance was fantastic. He makes a real difference to the New Zealand team.”