New Zealand are on course for a first ever World Cup title after a thrilling semifinal victory over South Africa, secured off the penultimate ball of the match.
Chasing an adjusted target of 298 in just 43 overs after a rain interrupted the match at Eden Park, Grant Elliott hit a six right at the death to confirm victory and send the Auckland crowd into raptures.
It is the first time New Zealand has ever reached a World Cup final, and it will play either Australia or India on Sunday. Te pair face each other in Sydney on Thursday.
Not the first time in the sport, rain played a part. South Africa were motoring with the bat before a two-hour delay for poor weather.
Though its total was escalated by the Duckworth/Lewis method — used to calculate a revised target in the event of a rain delay — New Zealand held firm thanks to Elliott.
His 84 not out underpinned its innings and it was fitting that he delivered the final blow, smashing Dale Steyn for six off the second last ball to spark jubilant scenes at Eden Park.
“I don’t think this win is for myself or the team, but everyone here,” Elliott said at the post-match presentation. “The supporters have been amazing.
“I think we timed the pace of the innings to perfection. I wasn’t 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.”