New Zealand v South Africa, World Cup 2015, 1st semi-final, Auckland March 25, 2015

Vettori's potential 'fairytale finish'

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Brendon McCullum on Daniel Vettori: "He's a joker at times but certainly adds a lot of calmness and to have him out there we were certainly confident" © Associated Press

Daniel Vettori missed his pull against Dale Steyn then hurtled through for a bye to give Grant Elliott the strike. Next ball Elliott launched New Zealand into the World Cup final. That scamper was, barring a major change of heart, Vettori's last act in limited-overs international cricket on home soil. The previous delivery he had carved Steyn behind point for a boundary just as vital as the one Elliott struck. He is writing one heck of a farewell script.

Vettori has not made any official announcements on his future, but a career in coaching in the IPL, where he has already started with Royal Challengers Bangalore, and the Big Bash looms. Do not be surprised if he ends up back with New Zealand one day. For now, though, he has one more match - the grandest of them all at the MCG on Sunday - in which to loop down his left-arm spin and maybe squirt some vital runs.

When Elliott struck the winning six, Vettori let out a rare show of raw emotion. There has been a quiet efficiency about his work at this tournament - during which he has taken 15 wickets, including his 300th in ODIs, at 18.80 with an economy rate of 3.98 - but this was not a moment for holding back. Seventeen years after making his debut as a bespectacled teenager against England, he was part of the nation's finest cricketing hour.

"His last game on New Zealand soil, so to be out there at the end and be as instrumental and calm as he was under pressure, I couldn't think of two better blokes to have out at that wily old age of 36," Brendon McCullum said. "You can't buy that sort of experience."

Mike Hesson added: "Dan loves the game and knows the history of the game. He's a huge part of this team, since he's come back in he's added a lot of calmness to the dressing room. He's a joker at times but certainly adds a lot of calmness and to have him out there we were certainly confident."

Vettori was absent from the field towards the end of South Africa's innings with a stiff back, having bowled nine overs for 46, but McCullum was convinced he has one more game in him. He will be vital, too, at the MCG against whichever side New Zealand face as both Australia and India possess vast batting depth. Vettori has previously said how he enjoys operating on larger grounds, rather than the generally short boundaries of New Zealand, and they do not come much bigger than Melbourne.

"A massive factor depends on who we play as to what role of attack or defence he has, but for overall experience he's been around half his life playing for New Zealand," McCullum said. "It would be the ideal way to send him off and he has that real bit between his teeth.

"He had to overcome quite a bit to get back up and represent New Zealand. Last night out there at the end is a memory he'll never forget and now he's got one potential fairytale finish left."

Andrew McGlashan is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • samia on March 29, 2015, 13:40 GMT

    Going to miss watching him. I would have loved to see the cup in his hands, but at least he hot to play the final.

  • Damian on March 27, 2015, 5:20 GMT

    I am an Aussie fan and will be travelling to the MCG on Sunday. Whilst I will be supporting the Aussies and hoping they win, there will be a tear of joy in my eye if I see Dan Vettori holding the world cup aloft. Regardless of the result he will, I am sure, be getting a standing ovation from the entire crowd and he thoroughly deserves it for both his outstanding career and being, as we Aussie like to say, "a good bloke"

  • Al on March 26, 2015, 20:46 GMT

    Sir DAN VETTORI ......he will keep playing for NZ.....how cab he resist? defending the world cup next time.

  • sam on March 26, 2015, 17:28 GMT

    Dan Vetori has been one my favorite cricketers of the last decade. Probably was the third best all-rounder of the last decade after Kallis and Flintoff.

  • Dummy on March 26, 2015, 13:33 GMT

    I wish for a grand farewell for dan in the final. Such a great gentleman cricketer...not only New Zealand, whole world will miss you... Good luck for the final.

  • Dummy4 on March 26, 2015, 13:16 GMT

    going for oz in the final, of course, but I won't be particularly bummed if un zud win it- this being one of the main reasons. Classiest player going.

  • Bill on March 26, 2015, 12:13 GMT

    Great comments. Can't say it better than the comments below.. I have lived away from New Zealand for 6yrs.. When I lived on the North Shore of Auckland I would take my young sons there to get them reading from a young age. We liked Takapuna library as its right next to the beach. Beautiful spot and when you walk in and you would see a poster of Daniel Vettori reading a book. Encouraging kids to be better..one day I will come back home and thanks to him and the team my sons will go to the same library one day and read about the heroic New Zealand cricket team of 2015..I will make sure they do. It's a good read already!

  • muddassir on March 26, 2015, 4:51 GMT

    I have been a fan of Dan for a long time and it will be an absolutely fitting end to a glorious career if NZ wins the world cup. However, even if the don't. Whole world has to stand up and applaud a true champion. He showed to all what it means to play at highest level with dignity, courage and strength of character. I remember few years back he was made the captain of NZ during absolutely worst period and he did a wonderful job even then. A true legend and a thorough gentleman. It was an absolute privilege for all fans of cricket to watch him play. Thank you Dan for making our lives brighter with your incredible talent and personality.

  • Sam on March 25, 2015, 19:14 GMT

    Vettori has already started coaching career from last year with RCB in IPL & didn't appear in auction for injury. Played in the BBL & for New Zealand after that becoming fit. He is to coach RCB again this year & perhaps a coaching stint with Heat in BBL. So, I thought it's a full fledged retirement from now on. But in between he is contracted to play in CPL this year. Does it mean can NZ have Vettori for T20s as a player ?

  • carl on March 25, 2015, 17:12 GMT

    He's a great t20 coach, but I'd love to see him as spin coach for a few NZ test series. maybe even make him self available for the oz tour and play in tandem with mark craig.

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