Kuznetsova, the No. 8 seed, outlasted Pliskova in a 1-hour, 55-minute battle to earn a spot in her 40th career final and third in Indian Wells.
Two-time major victor Kuznetsova booked her place in the final at Indian Wells with a hard-fought 7-6 (5) 7-6 (2) semi-final victory over third seed Karolina Pliskova.
Kuznetsova had given up a 3-0 lead in the first set, and she allowed Pliskova back into the tie-break from 6-2 up before sealing the opener.
However, she did dispatch Kristina Mladenovic with remarkable ease in the semifinals on Friday when she mounted 5-0 and 5-1 leads in the first and second sets, respectively.
The 31-year-old breezed into a 4-1 advantage in the second, but Vesnina was not finished yet and reeled off four games in a row to go in front, also hitting back after failing to serve out the set as she broke yet again to take the match to a decider.
No. 15 Vesnina has won three doubles titles here at Indian Wells, though this will be the biggest stage she's played on in singles. The 30-year-old sealed the deal to reach the final with a 6-3, 6-4 victory.
Earlier in the tournament, Vesnina beat No. 2 Angelique Kerber in the fourth round and No. 13 Venus Williams in the quarterfinals. "She's using the drop-shots, slices", Vesnina said ahead of her semi-finals match. 6-1 3-6 7-6. They are just numbers, I am really enjoying myself, I feel good, I feel healthy and I love tennis. "He was attacking really well, first and third sets".
"I felt like I had to do kind of insane points to win".
Nishikori had not dropped a set in the tournament until losing the first against Sock.
"I had some issues", said the American, who played Thursday with one thigh bandaged, but without the right arm bandage she sported in previous rounds. "Too many unforced errors, especially in the third to give him too many chances to break".
"Mladenovic is on fire", Vesnina said on court. I was not thinking about the final.
"I needed a match like this. It was a very important match for me".
Two-time Grand Slam singles champion Svetlana Kuznetsova is arguably playing the best tennis of her career in nearly a decade. Vesnina won nine of 11 points played on Kuznetsova's second serve in the deciding set.
Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka met in an all-Swiss men's final later.