Seamer Ian Butler was the hero for the Kiwis as he kept his cool in the final over to end with figures of 3 for 19 from his four overs as the Caribbean crowd lapped up the tense finale.
Salman Butt’s unbeaten 67 helped Pakistan to get close to the 134-run victory target but he would have been frustrated that he was off strike for the final ball and that his team mate Abdul Rehman failed to at least take the match into a ‘Super Over’ tiebreak.
With three needed from the last two balls, Pakistan scampered a single, surviving a run out appeal, but that left Rehman on strike for the final ball.
Looking for a risky boundary, the left-hander could only loop the ball to Martin Guptill on the midwicket boundary who swallowed up the catch.
A single would have taken the game to the tiebreaker and the defeat was costly —- it leaves Pakistan without a point from two games in the Super Eight stage and facing elimination if South Africa beat England later on Saturday.
“We just hung in there, and thankfully it went our way. That was one of the biggest games I have played for New Zealand,” said a beaming Butler.
For New Zealand the win takes them to two points in the group and the chance of progress to the semi-finals if they can beat England in their final game tomorrow in St Lucia.
Pakistan had recovered from a poor start of 58 for five after 9.4 overs, thanks largely to Butt, and did well to take it right to the wire having gone into the final two overs needing 22.
The Pakistanis can take some encouragement from a much improved display in the field though — their spinners bowled well to restrict New Zealand to 133 for seven.
Rehman and skipper Shahid Afridi picked up two wickets apiece along with seamer Mohammed Sami.
For New Zealand Brendon McCullum (33) and skipper Daniel Vettori (38) top scored.