Pakistan 287 for 9 (Ali Asad 69, Riaz Kail 84) beat Australia 124 (Khawaja 59, Imad Wasim 3-16, Usman Malik 3-17) by 163 runs
Pakistan will take on arch-rivals India in the World Cup final after overwhelming Australia at the Premadasa Stadium. Their triumph represents a stirring revival after they had slumped to 80 for 5. However a stunning partnership of 160 between Riaz Kail and Ali Asad powered them towards a daunting 287 for 9, then Australia's much-vaunted top order failed to deliver in the face of a huge run-chase.
Jamshed Ahmed removed the two key elements of Australia's batting, Tom Cooper and Moises Henriques, in a fiery opening burst. Cooper has been key in anchoring Australia's batting efforts so his early demise was a huge boost for Pakistan and when Henriques played an airy drive, the main players were back in the hutch inside 10 overs.
Henriques said the situation had affected some of his players: "We were certainly on top of our game at that point and it's unfortunate that we couldn't keep it going as we have done against the last few sides we have played. It was the first time the guys had played under lights and maybe the pressure got the better of them."
But the real damage had been done in the second half of Pakistan's innings. Kail and Asad began by ensuring the team would have something to defend. Then, as their partnership and confidence grew the strokeplay expanded, forcing Australia to retreat.
Kail launched Pakistan back into life. He attacked the Australian spin pairing of Jack McNamara and Jon Holland, then as the field was pushed back, both batsmen ran well between the wickets, leaving Australia looking flustered.
Mansoor Rana, Pakistan's coach, always believed his side had the ability to turn around the poor start: "We just needed a partnership and the two in the middle-order did that with the rebuilding process. We have depth in our batting and just needed to go up to 35 or 40 overs and it worked really well for us today. My bowling has been very good for the last couple of months and here our batting wasn't really coming up to the mark but our bowling was superb."
Even when the pair were dispatched by Simon Keen in the 46th over - Kail for a 99-ball 84 and Asad an 86-ball 69 - the swinging didn't stop. Australia's bowling figures, which had earlier been so impressive, took a serious hammering with Imad Wasim keeping the pace going until the end with 29 off 15 balls.
The shift in momentum was demonstrated as Pakistan hit the ground running in the field. Australia couldn't gain any foothold against the impressive Jamshed, while Anwar Ali bowled his ten overs straight through without any luck. Usman Khawaja made a battling half-century from 65 balls, but could not find anyone to stay with him. Once he was dismissed the end was near.
The lower order swished around, but the fight was going out of the Australians. Each batsman trooped back with their head down knowing that, despite being one of the two best teams in the tournament, they weren't going to be making it to the final.
Rana saved special praise for the efforts of his fielders. "Today I was really happy with the fielding. The nature of Pakistani people is that they do things when they are really required, and today was the example of that, but I wasn't really expecting this fielding from them."
There had been a very different feeling for the first hour and a half of the day. Henriques and Adam Ritchard claimed two wickets apiece as Pakistan's batsmen displayed their wasteful side. Anwar Ali's dismissal was tinged with controversy as it appeared the slip catch to Finch hadn't carried, but the run-out of Rameez Raja was just plain careless as he chanced a second to David Warner in the covers.
However, in exhilarating style, they found two heroes in the middle order and their bowlers found the consistency to back up those efforts. The Pakistan supporters - finally some fans had turned up to watch this tournament - jumped for joy as the final wicket fell, but as the team celebrated they will have known the biggest challenge is two days away.
How they were out
Mohammad Ibrahim c Wade b Ritchard 2 (9 for 1)
Thin edged a drive
Nasir Jamshed st Wade b Ritchard 15 (26 for 2)
Brilliant take down the leg side
Ali Khan c Ritchard b Henriques 18 (62 for 3)
Skied drive to mid off
Anwar Ali c Finch b Henriques 1 (68 for 4)
Low take at slip, some doubt whether ball hit ground first
Rameez Raja run out (Warner) 29 (80 for 5)
Suicidal second run to deep cover
Ali Asad c Ritchard b Keen 66 (240 for 6)
Failed to clear midwicket
Riaz Kail b Keen 86 (241 for 7)
Backed away, ball clipped off stump
Sarfraz Ahmed c Cooper b Henriques (262 for 8)
Pulled to long leg
Jamshed Ahmed run out (Warner) 2 (284 for 9)
Well short attempting a second
Tom Cooper c Sarfraz b Jamshed 1 (3 for 1)
Regulation outside edge to one that nipped away
Moises Henriques b Jamshed 8 (20 for 2)
Bowled through the gate attempting to drive
Matthew Wade run out (Anwar Ali) 11 (53 for 3)
Off the pad, tried to run one back to the bowler
Aaron Finch lbw b Wasim 11 (99 for 4)
Trapped on the back foot
David Warner lbw b Malik 1 (104 for 5)
Beaten by a straight one
Usman Khawaja run out (Ali Asad) 59 (109 for 6)
Sharp fielding from backward point
Simon Keen st Sarfraz b Malik 3 (118 for 7)
Missed an ambitious swipe
Adam Ritchard b Malik 1 (122 for 8)
Tom Stray c Anwar b Wasim 10 (124 for 9)
Drove straight to cover
Jon Holland lbw b Wasim 0 (124 all out)
Played back, plumb