New Zealand reached its first Cricket World Cup final when Grant Elliott struck a six from the penultimate ball to beat South Africa by four wickets in a cliffhanger semifinal on Tuesday.New Zealand came to the last over of a rain-shortened match needing 12 runs to reach its Duckworth-Lewis target of 298 from 43 overs, and made it with just one ball left at a raucous Eden Park.
“I don’t even know where the ball went,” Elliott said after the match-winning hit of a surprising length ball from Dale Steyn over the long-on boundary.In Sunday’s final, New Zealand will face either Australia or India, who meet on Thursday.
“It’s the greatest time of our lives as players,” New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said.“It’s been an incredible ride. I hope (the fans) are all dreaming as much as we are. We’ve got a huge occasion in a few days’ time. It would be nice to win it.”
Earlier, Faf du Plessis made 82, captain AB de Villiers 65 not out, and David Miller 49 from 18 balls as South Africa compiled 281-5 batting first, taking 65 runs from the five overs left to it after the rainNew Zealand then chased a revised total of 298, and reached that formidable objective with cricket fans of two nations holding their breath. The Kiwis were guided home by Elliott, with 84 not out, and Daniel Vettori, 7 not out.
Asked if he was as calm as he looked, Elliott said, “Probably not. When you’ve got 40,000 fans screaming at you every ball …”
McCullum said: “Credit to South Africa for giving us one hell of a run. The game was outstanding. I’m sure everyone here will remember it for the rest of their lives. I know our boys will.”The South Africans slumped on the field after watching the ball fall into the stands.
“It was an amazing game of cricket,” de Villiers said. “It was the most electric crowd I’ve ever heard in my life“The better team came out on top. We gave it our best. We left everything out here on the field.“We don’t go back with any regrets, we had our chances. It’s hurting quite a bit, so it will take us quite a while to get over this.”