New Zealand defeated South Africa by four wickets Tuesday in one of the greatest World Cup matches ever played to win through to Sunday's final as co-hosts Australia got ready for their last-four clash with defending champions India. A rain-affected see-saw semi-final at Auckland's Eden Park, eventually came down to New Zealand needing five to win off the last two balls.
But South Africa-born Grant Elliott, whose unbeaten 84 was a masterclass of batting under pressure, then stepped up to inflict more World Cup semi-final misery on his compatriots by smashing injured fast bowler Dale Steyn for six as New Zealand reached their revised victory target of 298 with one ball to spare.
The win meant New Zealand, who'd lost all six of their previous World Cup semi-finals, had at last made it through to the tournament's climax and could look forward to taking part in Sunday's showpiece match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. But for South Africa, who've yet to play in a World Cup final, this was the fourth time they'd fallen at the semi-final hurdle.
"At the end what a great innings from Grant Elliott," said New Zealand captain and opener Brendon McCullum, who launched the Black Caps' reply with a typically aggressive 59.