West Indies storm into the final
West Indies 132 for 3 (Sarwan 56*, Lara 31 ret hurt) beat Pakistan 131 (Yasir Hameed 39) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Even though this was Pakistan's first visit to the Rose Bowl in this tournament, Inzamam-ul-Haq could not be excused for choosing to bat first on a pitch renowned for favouring the chasing team. And, oh, how it cost them. Bangladesh, the only other team in the trophy to win the toss and choose not to field first, were made to pay for their choice as South Africa bundled them out for 93 at Edgbaston - but Inzamam didn't learn from that.
So this time it was Pakistan who were coughing up, as their batting line-up choked - 131 all out - in an entirely unhealthy display of batting which left their bowlers little to work with. West Indies, by contrast, were in robust health, as their fielding glowed, their bowling breathed easily and their batting shone, as they glided into the final against England at The Oval on Saturday.
Just about the only blot on West Indies' horizon was a nasty blow that laid out Brian Lara, their captain. He was settled in, with 31, when he received a speedy bouncer from Shoaib Akhtar that thudded into his neck just below his helmet as he tried to jerk his head away. Lara crumpled, narrowly avoiding his stumps as he fell, and was worryingly still for a few moments. But he soon got up, and walked off unaided.
But that was that: Ramnaresh Sarwan, Lara's vice-captain, took his team home in the gloom to book their place in the final.
Pakistan's innings had started badly - Salman Butt, a 19-year-old left-hander making his one-day debut, pushed at Ian Bradshaw's third ball of the innings and sent it straight to Sarwan at second slip - and didn't improve much as they were shot out for 131, which never looked enough.
They started slowly, with just 26 runs from the first ten overs, and although Yasir Hameed fought bravely against some testing early movement, he eventually fell for 39. Hameed had latched on to any loose ones with wristy panache, but he was out needlessly: Dwayne Bravo's strong spear of a throw into Courtney Browne's waiting hands cut short his innings just as it was beginning to bear fruition (65 for 2). Hameed's needless sacrifice was a big blow for Pakistan, and their run rate dipped sharply.
Shoaib Malik and Inzamam-ul-Haq, in his 300th one-day innings, continued to limp along until Bravo, in his second spell, removed Malik caught behind - another soft dismissal - for a stodgy 17. Malik, who had earlier watched Hameed's charge, edged a length delivery through to Browne (71 for 3).
This brought in Yousuf Youhana, who could make only 12 before feathering another one through to Browne (100 for 4). Abdul Razzaq soon joined the procession, another victim of Bravo's arm in the field, although the TV replays showed it was a very close thing (109 for 5).
But the highlight of West Indies' assault was Wavell Hinds's two wickets in four balls. He first tempted Inzamam to edge behind for 21, and then trapped Moin Khan lbw before he had scored to leave Pakistan reeling at 112 for 7.
Only four more runs had been added before Corey Collymore gained reward for pitching the ball up at Naved-ul-Hasan, who was bowled for 0 (116 for 8). And duck was next on the menu as well, as Collymore shattered Mohammad Sami's stumps (125 for 9). Shahid Afridi mounted some brief resistance, but his lone stand was cut short as Browne stumped him neatly from Chris Gayle's flighted tempter.
In reply, Shoaib Akhtar struck twice early on to give Pakistan a glimmer of hope as they sought to defend that meagre total. Gayle fell first, trapped plumb in front by a good-length delivery, which bent in to leave umpire Simon Taufel in no doubt. And then - a moment of magic, as Akhtar reacted quickly on his follow-through to grab a flashing drive from Wavell Hinds (20 for 2).
But Sarwan was out to demonstrate his class, as he set about wresting back the initiative by punching a neat four through cover off Sami. He followed that up with a well-timed pull for four and a square cut, hit on the up, also off Sami. Sarwan was joined in his efforts by Lara, who launched a punishing attack on the bowlers, particularly Abdul Razzaq. In the gathering gloom, Lara thumped three successive fours off Razzaq, one to cover and two to third man.
Just as he was motoring along, Lara was floored by Akhtar, and retired hurt. But his headache will have been eased as West Indies lost only one more wicket - when Chanderpaul miscued an extravagant attempted cover-drive (102 for 3) - before Sarwan's unbeaten half-century guided them into the final.