MALAYSIA diced with thir nine lives and ended up sharing the spoils when they drew 2-2 with Pakistan in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
Now, the hosts must beat India in their last match on Saturday to cement their spot in the final.
There was not even standing space left when the match started, as more than 13,000 fans came to support the Malaysian team who only needed to beat Pakistan to play in only their fourth final.
Faizal Saari received a green card for a silly mistake in the second minute, but he made up for the folly in the sixth minute itself.
Malaysia played like they badly wanted to win the match, and earned their first penalty corner in the fifth minute.
Faizal's powerful low drive hit postman Imran Muhammad's leg, and went between Waqas Muhammed's legs for the first goal.
That was the signal his mates needed, and a concerted push upfront saw Malaysia win their second penalty corner in the ninth minute, but the first runner doused the attempt.
Faizal was all over the pitch, and for his untiring effort, he made another mistake in the 11th minute and was yellow carded.
Pakistan then won a string of penalty corners and in the 15th minute, Muhammad Imran finally perfected it for the equalsier.
There was no letting up on the remaining minutes of the half, as Malaysia kept attacking, but found the side netting, as well as an off form Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, and failed to produce a lead into the breather.
Five minutes into the second half, Malaysia were awarded their sixth then seventh penalty corners but still failed to break the deadlock.
Number eight was the lucky number in the 53rd minute, as Razie Rahim sent the ball crashing into the net for his first goal of the tournament.
The crowd, sensing that Malaysia were on the winning path, started doing the Mexican Wave as Malaysia attacked rentlessly looking for a bigger lead.
But Pakistan drew level again in the 63rd minute, when Shafqat Rasool tapped in the easiest goal of the tournament, and Malaysia had to share points with them.
In another match, New Zealand beat India 2-0 to keep their hopes alive of playing in the final, as they now need to beat Australia in their last match on Saturday.
India were a jaded side, as the Kiwis punished them in the 40th minute off Andy Hayward's penalty corner. And in the 57th minute, Cory Bennett picked up penalty corner rebound to make sure.
Australia, on the other hand, displayed poor form and needed a 70th minute equaliser to draw 3-3 with South Korea.
The Koreans took the lead off Nam Hyun Woo (34th), but Australia were back level in the 41st minute when Joshua Miller scored.
Nicholas Budgeon scored an own goal in the 43rd minute, and Lee Seung II scored Korea's third in the 55th minute.
Miller then reduced the deficit in the 58th, and Timothy Deavin scored the equaliser with just eight seconds on the clock.
P W D L F A Pts
AUSTRALIA 4 2 2 0 14 7 8
MALAYSIA 4 2 2 0 8 6 8
N ZEALAND 4 2 0 2 9 6 6
KOREA 4 1 1 2 7 10 4
PAKISTAN 4 1 1 2 7 14 4
INDIA 4 1 0 3 7 9 3
RESULTS: Australia 3 Korea 3, New Zealand 2 India 0, Malaysia 2 Pakistan 2.
March 16: Korea v Pakistan (4pm), Australia v New Zealand (6pm), Malaysia v India (8pm).
Note: All matches at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.