ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 1st semi-final: Elliott breaks South Africa’s heart

Elliott exults after hitting the winning runs

Elliott exults after hitting the winning runs

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

New Zealand all-rounder Grant Elliott smashed an unbeaten 84 to not only beat South Africa by four wickets, but also lead the Black Caps to their first World Cup final.

Elliott was well supported by captain Brendon McCullum and all-rounder Corey Anderson, who scored 59 and 58 respectively.

However, South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis, skipper AB de Villiers and David Miller all deserve a lot of credit as they made 82, 65 not out and 49 respectively.

De Villiers would have been brooding over his decision to bat first after openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock were both dismissed in quick succession.

Du Plessis and Rilee Rossouw stabilised the innings with an 83-run partnership before Rossouw was caught by Martin Guptill at backward point off the bowling of Anderson for 39.

A little while after Rossouw was dismissed, the heavens parted and the players were ushered off the field.

Due to a lengthy rain delay, the match was cut down to 43 overs per side.

Du Plessis and de Villiers kept the runs flowing with a 103-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before du Plessis was caught behind off the bowling of Anderson.

Du Plessis was given not out initially, but New Zealand decided to review the decision. Unfortunately for du Plessis, the replays showed that the ball had brushed his glove before going to the keeper. This led to the third umpire overturning the original decision.

Du Plessis’ superb knock of 82 came off 107 balls and included seven boundaries and a six.

Du Plessis scored a valiant 82

Du Plessis scored a valiant 82

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

South Africa’s dominance with the bat continued as de Villiers and Miller put together a 55-run partnership before Miller was caught behind off the bowling of Anderson for 49.

Miller’s quickfire innings of 49 came of 18 deliveries and included six boundaries and three sixes.

Miller smashed six boundaries and three sixes during his knock of 49

Miller smashed six boundaries and three sixes during his knock of 49

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Thanks to de Villiers’ unbeaten knock of 65, which came off 45 balls and included eight boundaries and a six, South Africa finished on 281/5 off their 43 overs.

De Villiers made a gutsy 65

De Villiers made a gutsy 65

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Anderson was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Trent Boult took two.

Chasing 298 to win due to the Duckworth-Lewis method, New Zealand got off to a blistering start as McCullum and Guptill amassed a 71-run partnership, during which McCullum registered his half-century, before he was caught by Dale Steyn at mid-on off the bowling of Morne Morkel.

McCullum’s entertaining innings of 59 came off 26 deliveries and included eight boundaries and four sixes.

McCullum got New Zealand off to a strong start

McCullum got New Zealand off to a strong start

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Following McCullum’s dismissal, Kane Williamson, Guptill and Ross Taylor were dismissed in quick succession.

Elliott and Anderson stemmed the bleeding with a 103-run partnership, during which both batsmen recorded their half-centuries, before Anderson was caught by du Plessis at square leg off the bowling of Morkel.

Anderson’s brilliant knock of 58 came off 57 balls and included six boundaries and two sixes.

Anderson made vital contributions with both the bat and ball

Anderson made vital contributions with both the bat and ball

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Luke Ronchi only made eight runs before he was caught by Rossouw at deep midwicket off the bowling of Steyn.

Needing 12 runs to win off the last over, New Zealand scored seven runs off the first four balls.

However, on the penultimate ball of the match, Elliott launched Steyn for a massive six to seal the deal for New Zealand.

Elliott finished unbeaten on 84, which came off 73 deliveries and included seven boundaries and three sixes.

Morkel was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Steyn and Jean Paul (JP) Duminy claimed one wicket each.

De Villiers was gutted to have lost the match, and said: “Amazing game of cricket. Probably the most electric crowd I have ever heard in my life. I guess the best team has come out on top. We gave it our best. No regrets. We left it all out there. It is hurting. It is going to take a while to recover. Worst of all is we don’t play for ourselves. The bigger picture is for the people back home. We play for them. I hope they can still be proud of us. There have been great performances. I felt we had a wonderful thing going. Had a great feeling. Don’t want to single out any performance. To the teams in the final, all the best.”

McCullum was ecstatic to have made the final, and said: “Pretty amazing. South Africa gave as good as they got all day. Great advertisement for cricket. Everybody involved will remember this for the rest of their lives. Keep raining is what I thought when AB was going. Two very destructive batsmen. The way we kept giving it in the field, the way we bowled, we did good. Even with the bat. We wanted to hang in till the end. What a great innings from Grant. Came out of the wilderness not long ago. We had to generate some sort of run-rate early, that is what we tried to do.

“Credit to South Africa for the way they played tonight and throughout the tournament. The greatest time of our lives. We have enjoyed the experience. The crowds that have turned out, the brand of cricket we have tried to play. Hope the crowds are all dreaming the way we are. Gee it would be nice to win it. We don’t mind whom we face in the final. They are both quality sides, but we know if we play the way we want to, we have a good chance. Really proud to represent New Zealand.”

Elliott was named Man of the Match, and said: “It’s great. I don’t think this win is for myself or the team, but everyone here. The supporters have been amazing. We wanted to take it as deep as we could. I think we timed the pace of the innings to perfection. Not as calm as I looked. When you have 45,000 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.”

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  1. Pingback: Elliott to retire after 2016 World T20? | Batting with Bimal

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