Carbon nanotube (CNT) reinforced polymeric composites provide a promising future in structural engineering. To understand the bridging effect of CNT in the events of the fracture of CNT reinforced composites, the finite element method was applied to simulate a single CNT pullout from a polymeric matrix using cohesive zone modelling. The numerical results indicate that the debonding force during the CNT pullout increases almost linearly with the interfacial crack initiation shear stress. Specific pullout energy increases with the CNT embedded length, while it is independent of the CNT radius. In addition, a saturated debonding force exists corresponding to a critical CNT embedded length. A parametric study shows that a higher saturated debonding force can be achieved if the CNT has a larger radius or if the CNT/matrix has a stronger interfacial bonding. The critical CNT embedded length decreases with the increase of the interfacial crack initiation shear stress.