Grant Elliott hand - the mark of the man in a moment of triumph

CLASS: Grant Elliott shows compassion to South Africa bowler Dale Steyn moments after leading the Black Caps into the ...
Peter Meecham | Hannah Peters

CLASS: Grant Elliott shows compassion to South Africa bowler Dale Steyn moments after leading the Black Caps into the Cricket World Cup final.

Moments after bludgeoning a six off the world's No 1 fast bowler to win the Cricket World Cup semifinal for New Zealand, Grant Elliott lived up to the Black Caps' reputation as a "gentlemanly" side showing compassion and offering words of encouragement to a disconsolate rival.

It was a moment commentators said captured the spirit of cricket and compared with Andrew Flintoff's consolation of Brett Lee in the Edgbaston Ashes test 10 years ago.

South African-born Elliott was a late selection for the Black Caps' Cricket World Cup squad, but he proved his worth in a heroic batting effort at Eden Park on Tuesday.

With the Black Caps chasing 298 for victory, Elliott put in a man-of-the-match performance to score 84 not out, punctuated by a six off the penultimate ball to win the match and propel New Zealand into their first Cricket World Cup final.

It was a moment of high emotion as the ball went sailing over the rope to give the Black Caps the winning runs.

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The New Zealand team embraced one another in a moment of "man-love", ecstatic Black Caps bowler Tim Southee later said.

For Elliott though, in the midst of the adulation of a 40-000 strong Auckland crowd, his response was to extend his hand to Dale Steyn, the bowler sprawling prone in despair on the pitch.

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"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," Elliott said.

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"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."

Before the match, South Africa captain AB de Villiers had said the match would be played in good spirit. He was right.

"New Zealand is normally a gentlemanly team to play against but sometimes they do come out and go for what they want. We are expecting that," he had said.

Elliott dedicated the victory 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."

*Did you doubt Grant Elliott would come through for the Black Caps at Eden Park? Comment below.*

 - Stuff

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