The shot of my life? I guess it is, says Grant Elliott after firing New Zealand to World Cup final gallery video

Sky Sport

The final over to perhaps the greatest cricket match ever played at Eden Park as Grant Elliott holds his nerve for NZ.

They don't come any more laid back and relaxed than Grant Elliott, but the Black Caps' match winner admitted to being a bundle of nerves as he faced Dale Steyn in the final over of New Zealand's thrilling Cricket World Cup semifinal win.

The equation was simple: two balls to go, one boundary required to beat South Africa and advance to New Zealand's first World Cup final.

The Black Caps needed five from two balls to chase down the target of 298 in 43 overs at Eden Park in Auckland, but Elliott, 36, is an experienced campaigner and knew all the angles.

Grant Elliott hits the winning six off the penultimate ball.
Peter Meecham

Grant Elliott hits the winning six off the penultimate ball.

Match report: NZ win by four wickets
Five clangers that cost South Africa
Fans play their part in epic Eden Park match
Wonderful irony of Grant Elliott's winning six
De Villiers finds no comfort in gallant defeat
Fan in the Stand: Cool heads and cold sweats
* Black Caps player rankings - CWC semifinal
* Cricket greats heap praise on Black Caps

MCCULLUM MOSAIC: Support the Black Caps with a photo/selfie #backtheblackcaps

A four would do because New Zealand could advance in the event of a tie having finished higher up in their pool than the Proteas.

Grant Elliott of New Zealand celebrates hitting the winning runs.
Getty Images

Grant Elliott of New Zealand celebrates hitting the winning runs.

South Africa-born Elliott, who still speaks with his native accent but has been a New Zealander for a long time now, stepped in front of his stumps and hoisted South Africa's quickest bowler into the stands over long-on.

He raised his arms, 41,000 fans went crazy, and history was made with a four-wicket win, as New Zealand's tally of 299-6 from 42.5 overs was good enough to secure them a place in Sunday's final in Melbourne, against Australia or India, who play on Thursday.

The shot of his life?

Sky Sport

The Black Caps chase down 298 to reach their first ever World Cup final at the expense of South Africa.

"I guess it is," he replied.

Ad Feedback

"I really did feel the pressure. I knew I had two balls. Dan (Vettori) said we weren't going to run to the keeper again so I knew it was up to me. I knew that four runs would do it because a tie was as good as a win for us, so that was in the back of my mind.

"I've had relative success in T20 cricket for Wellington. I changed my game a little at the death when you can free yourself up. I was looking to hit that ball for six or four. I was going to line that ball up and where ever it was it was going over the boundary - hopefully.

Peter Meecham/Fairfax NZ Peter Meecham/Fairfax NZ Hannah Peters/Getty Images Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ Peter Meecham/Fairfax NZ Peter Meecham/Fairfax NZ Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ Peter Meecham/Fairfax NZ Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ Peter Meecham/Fairfax NZ Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ Peter Meecham/Fairfax NZ Peter Meecham/Fairfax NZ Peter Meecham Peter Meecham/Fairfax NZ Mark Taylor Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ Getty Images Peter Meecham/Fairfax NZ Getty Images Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ Getty Images Getty Images Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ Peter Meecham/Fairfax NZ Peter Meecham/Fairfax NZ Getty Images Getty Images Photosport Mark Taylor/ Fairfax NZ Mark Taylor/ Fairfax NZ Mark Taylor/ Fairfax NZ Mark Taylor/ Fairfax NZ

MORE REASON TO SIMLE: The Black Caps players are in for a pay day of around $400,000 if they prevail in the World Cup final.

Grant Elliott hit the winning six for New Zealand at Eden Park.

Dale Steyn collapses to the ground after South Africa are pipped by the Black Caps.

Corey Anderson remains cool at the crease for New Zealand against South Africa.

AB de Villiers falls to the Eden Park turf after failing to field a ball.

Ross Taylor walks off after adding 30 runs to the Black Caps' cause.

New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill walks off after being run out by the South African attack.

Kane Williamson can't hide his disappointment as his innings comes to an end.

Brendon McCullum trudges off the Eden Park turf after being dismissed.

South African players celebrate taking the wicket of Kane Williamson.

Brendon McCullum loses a shoe as he bats for New Zealand at Eden Park.

Brendon McCullum watches as he sends another delivery to the boundary.

David Miller at the crease for South Africa just before being caught.

A rainbow forms over Eden Park just before play resumes after a rain delay.

Eden Park grounds crew pull out the covers as rain falls.

Under the cover of an umbrella, an umpire checks on the condition of Eden Park.

South African skipper AB de Villiers raises his bat after scoring his half-century from 32 balls.

AB de Villiers checks his face after diving back to his crease in a near run-out.

Martin Guptill (left) is mobbed by Ross Taylor and Luke Ronchi after his one-handed catch to remove Rilee Russouw.

AB de Villiers hits out at New Zealand bowling.

Bowler Matt Henry (right) and Martin Guptill react after a near-miss in the field.

Trent Boult leaps to field the ball off his own bowling.

Faf du Plessis plays an off-drive during his innings.

Tim Southee and New Zealand fans celebrate his catch to dismiss Quinton de Kock.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum dives in the field to prevent a boundary.

Faf du Plessis dives back into his crease during a run out chance.

Matt Henry, who joined the Black Caps squad on Sunday from domestic cricket, fields off his own bowling.

South Africa's Hashim Amla plays a Trent Boult delivery back onto his stumps.

Trent Boult (centre) is congratulated after taking South Africa's first wicket.

The Black Caps huddle prior to taking to the field at Eden Park.

New Zealand and South Africa line up for the national anthems at Eden Park.

Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum and South Africa skipper AB de Villiers at the toss.

Cricket fans on their way to Eden Park ahead of the Black Caps' CWC semifinal against South Africa.

The Jacobs family of Lailaa, Ashraf, Nadia and Tasheem arrive at Eden Park to support the Proteas.

CWC helper Vicky Williamson directs fans at Eden Park.

Black Caps all-rounder Corey Anderson inspects the Eden Park pitch ahead of the toss.

1  of  36
« Previous « Previous Next » Next »

"I didn't want to be there 70 not out - and not winning this game. That was not a position I wanted to be in.

"The chase, we probably left it a little late to be honest and it was stressful toward the end there."

Elliott felt a "release of emotion" after hitting the winning runs.

Grant Elliott helps Dale Steyn up after hitting the winning runs. 'I think you have to feel compassion and be humble in ...
Getty Images

Grant Elliott helps Dale Steyn up after hitting the winning runs. 'I think you have to feel compassion and be humble in victory and humble in defeat,' says Elliott.

"Cricket's the sort of game where you have to be quite unemotional in your approach but it was a great feeling to look at the crowd and savour that moment and realise we're through to the final.

"I'm quite a level sort of person and I like to stay out of the media, but I guess it will sink in after the World Cup when I look back on it and savour those moments."

He had found ways to deal with the intense pressure matches like these generate.

"Once you're in the zone and playing with freedom, and you're not really thinking, it's a great game. It's just see the ball, hit the ball, and that's something you have to do towards the end.

"It was unfortunate that we needed 11 (to tie) off the last over because we left it too late but credit to South Africa, they're a world class team and they played a very good game."

Elliott showed his compassionate side when he went up to Steyn and offered words of encouragement, as the world class bowler lay disconsolate on the ground immediately after Elliott's dagger through South African hearts.

"I think you have to feel compassion and be humble in victory and humble in defeat. It's just part of who I am. I felt sorry for him and I felt sorry for a lot of them.

"It could have been us, it could have been me sitting there having missed the last couple of balls. I'd have been gutted as well."

He would not have talk of South Africa stumbling. The word choke is something that could not be applied to this Proteas team who contributed to one of the great World Cup matches.

"There are small moments in the game, some things just go against you. That's just cricket. You can't look at the result all the time."

New Zealand are through to their first final, having had six semifinal defeats previously, and they did it in style.

Their chase was the highest successful one in a World Cup knockout match, eclipsing Australia's 289-4 to beat New Zealand's 286-9 in Chennai in the 1996 quarterfinal but they could have been chasing much more.

When the rain arrived, South Africa were 216-3 after 38 overs and eyeing 350. Their innings was reduced to 43 overs and they amassed 281-5, which was only adjusted up 17 runs after Messers Duckworth and Lewis had worked their magic.

It certainly worked to New Zealand's advantage.

"I think it was a key moment," Elliott said of the two-hour delay. "You don't know what they would've scored but it was a really good batting wicket and they were set. 298 was still a tough score in 43 overs, though."

Elliott dedicated it to "the fans and the four million people in New Zealand".

"The support has been overwhelming and there has been a lot of talk about us just making the semis and never kicking on.

"I know it means a lot to them team but with the emotions in the stands it obviously means a lot to a lot of people."

He has some making up to do on the home front, though, as his sister is getting married on Friday and Elliott will now be unable to attend, for obvious reasons.

"My family was here … unfortunately I will miss her wedding. I'm going to have to give her a special gift, I think."

*What were your memories from an epic World Cup semifinal? Comment below.*

 - Stuff


Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback