Grant Elliott helps New Zealand make first World Cup Final
Grant Elliott held his nerve with a solid 84 from 73 balls to help New Zealand narrowly beat South Africa by four wickets, with one ball to spare, to make the Finals of World Cup 2015.
South Africa's captain AB de Villiers won the toss and chose to bat first. His South Africa's openers, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock, faltered at the start and fell in the first eight overs for 31.
It was left up to the strong middle-order to help the Proteas out of trouble and they produced the goods.
Faf du Plesis produced a solid 82 from 107 balls to help restore some order in the South African ranks. De Villiers injected the required paced into the innings with a quick fire 65 from 45 balls and eventually David Miller clobbered 49 from 18 balls to help South Africa post a sizeable 281. The target was revised to 298 after Duckworth-Lewis did its work.
New Zealand needed to score at over eight runs an over from the start, against a quality South African attack, to make their first World Cup final and their captain McCullum ensured he got his side off to a flier.
McCullum's relentless onslaught ensured New Zealand managed 71 in the first seven over, before he was dismissed. At the halfway stage, South Africa held the advantage as the hosts struggled at 149 for four.
It was then that Elliott and Corey Anderson joined forces. The duo added 103 for the fifth wicket. Anderson's dismissal in the 38th over left the game evenly poised, with New Zealand still 47-runs shy.
Elliott stayed calm and guided his side closer home. He reached his 50 from just 53 balls.
In the last over, New Zealand needed 12 to win. Daniel Vettori and Elliott managed just singles from the first two balls, before Vettori found the fence and added another single. Elliott had two balls to negate and five runs to get and he deposited Dale Steyn's fifth ball for a huge six over long-on.
"I don't think this win is for myself or the team, but everyone here," Elliott said. "The supporters have been amazing. We wanted to take it as deep as we could [The crowd is not letting him talk]. I think we timed the pace of the innings to perfection. Not as calm as I looked. When you have 45000 fans screaming at you every ball... It has been an absolute pleasure playing in front of this crowd. We have had a good run. It is the first final we have been in as New Zealand. We are a very level team, we will approach it as any other game. Nothing going in my mind when I hit the six. I don't even know where the ball went."