Wed, Mar 25, 2015 - Page 20 News List

New Zealand win riveting semi-final

TURNING POINT:South Africa captain A.B. de Villiers did an excellent job of managing his team’s defense of their total, but botched the run-out of Corey Anderson

AP, AUCKLAND, New Zealand

New Zealand reached their first World Cup final when Grant Elliott struck a six from the penultimate ball to beat South Africa by four wickets in a cliffhanger semi-final yesterday.

New Zealand came to the last over of a rain-shortened match needing 12 runs to reach their Duckworth-Lewis target of 298 from 43 overs and made it with just one ball left at a raucous Eden Park.

“I don’t even know where the ball went,” Elliott said after the match-winning hit over the long-on boundary.

In Sunday’s final, New Zealand will face either Australia or India, who meet tomorrow.

“It’s the greatest time of our lives as players,” New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said. “It’s been an incredible ride. I hope [the fans] are all dreaming as much as we are. We’ve got a huge occasion in a few days’ time. It would be nice to win it.”

Earlier, Faf du Plessis made 82, captain A.B. de Villiers 65 not out and David Miller 49 from 18 balls as South Africa compiled 281-5 batting first, taking 65 runs from the final five overs left after the rain.

New Zealand then chased a revised total of 298 and reached that formidable objective with cricket fans of both nations holding their breath. The Black Caps were guided home by Elliott, with 84 not out, and Daniel Vettori, 7 not out.

South Africa’s players slumped on the field after watching the ball fall into the stands.

“It was an amazing game of cricket,” De Villiers said. “It was the most electric crowd I’ve ever heard in my life. The better team came out on top. We gave it our best.”

McCullum set the vigorous tempo of the New Zealand chase with an innings of 59 from 26 balls which contained eight fours and four sixes.

With Martin Guptill, the captain put on 71 in the first five overs, but the chase faltered when Morne Morkel, after conceding 14 runs from his first over, switched ends and removed McCullum and bowled Kane Williamson for 6 at 81-2 in a spell of three overs in which he took two for 11.

No single player commanded the run chase after McCullum was out and the required rate grew, at times to the visible alarm of the home fans.

Guptill, after his record 237 not out against the West Indies, made 34 before he was run out in a communication failure with serial offender Ross Taylor, who in turn fell for 30 to a piece of wicketkeeping brilliance by Quinton de Kock.

Corey Anderson made 58 and paired with Elliott in a partnership of 103, but perhaps in a measure of the hosts’ anxiety for the win that would finally break their history of six semi-final defeats, it seemed a work more of desperation than authority.

They moved the total to 252-5, Elliott reaching a half-century from 53 balls and Anderson from 47 balls, with five fours and two sixes.

De Villiers superbly managed his team’s defense of their total, using his bowlers on high rotation in one or two-over spells, but he was central to one of the turning points of the match when he botched the run-out of Anderson.

With Anderson stranded down the pitch and with the ball almost in his hand, De Villiers stumbled and somersaulted over the stumps, knocking off the bails and saving Anderson, the partnership and New Zealand’s hopes.

Anderson was finally out to the last ball of the 38th over, with New Zealand still needing 46 from five overs. Morkel (three for 59) achieved the breakthrough in a superb eighth over in which he conceded only one run.

This story has been viewed 2382 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top