KARACHI (Reuters) - Pakistan's run to the final of the Twenty20 World Cup has helped lift the mood in the country following months of suicide bombings, militant attacks and economic hardships. Pakistan celebrated their team's success against South Africa in the semi-finals of the competition in England on Thursday. They will face West Indies or Sri Lanka in Sunday's final. "Cricket has always been a big binding force in our country and the team's success in the World Cup has helped lift the spirits of the people," former test captain Moin Khan said. "The last few months have been very hard for the people and many of us carry psychological scars of the innocent lives lost in these terrorist attacks. But for now we have something to celebrate and look forward to." Militant violence has intensified steadily in Pakistan over the past two years, and the spread of the Taliban across the northwest of the country, coupled with attacks in towns and cities, has raised fears for the country's stability.Sport has not escaped the violence and seven Pakistanis were killed after gunmen ambushed the Sri Lanka team bus as they drove to a cricket stadium in Lahore in March. The attack prompted the International Cricket Council to take away Pakistan's hosting rights for 14 matches of the 2011 World Cup. But Pakistan's success in England has helped lift the gloom. "It is a temporary relief but at least for now the people are smiling," said sports psychologist Maqbool Bari. Bari had counselling sessions with the players before the World Cup and said they were eager to do their best for Pakistan. "I think this is one reason they are so charged up now and giving good performances," he added. Some of the players at the World Cup hail from Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, which has been a conflict zone between militants and security forces. The players have promised to donate part of their earnings for displaced people in the area. "The players also realise how important winning this World Cup is for our people and I don't see any reason why we can't win the final now," former test captain Rashid Latif said. Cricket has a massive following in Pakistan and emotions run high on results. When Pakistan were knocked out in the first round of the 50-overs World Cup in 2007, people demonstrated on the streets against the players and burned effigies of them. A few months later the players were showered with cash prizes and other awards after making the final of the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa. "They should have these Twenty20 matches every time, it brings good business for us and keeps our minds occupied," said tea stall owner "Abdullah" in one of Karachi's busiest business districts. His small wooden shack is doing a roaring trade as daily wage workers, drivers and guards throng to his stall to watch matches on a small television set or just lounge around to talk cricket.