84 days to go: Elliot's heroics choke country of his birth

With five required off two deliveries, Steyn bowled a length ball. Elliot went deep in the crease and finished the game off with a hit over long-on.

Published: 07th March 2019 08:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2019 05:31 PM   |  A+A-

Grant Elliot

New Zealand's Grant Elliot. (File Photo | AFP)

Online Desk

The Proteas had fallen again. The 2015 World Cup was perhaps their best chance to lift the coveted trophy, but they were sunk in the semi-final by a spectacular batting display from New Zealand's Grant Elliot. What made it even more galling was that Elliot was born and bred in South Africa.

Electric scenes were witnessed in Auckland as the heartbroken South Africans were down on their knees, while the hosts rejoiced over their maiden entry into a World Cup final. Johannesburg-born Elliot tried to console an emotional Dale Steyn who was at the receiving end of his onslaught. 

Chasing a target of 299 from 43 overs in a rain-affected match in Auckland, Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum went berserk against a Proteas attack that included Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir and Vernon Philander. He thumped 18 off Philander's first over and another 25 off a Steyn over as New Zealand reached 71 in the first six overs. 

McCullum raced to a 22-ball fifty but departed soon after for 59, including eight fours and four sixes. Soon after, brilliant bowling from Morkel reduced the Kiwis to 149/4 with Corey Anderson and Elliot at the crease. 

Both the middle-order batsmen steadied the innings with a 103-run partnership before Anderson fell to Morkel with 47 required off 30 deliveries. Wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi fell soon after, leaving Elliot with a difficult chase.

Twelve runs were required in the last over bowled by Steyn. Daniel Vettori hit a four off the third ball and gave the strike to Elliot off the very next delivery.

With five required off two deliveries, Steyn bowled a length ball. Elliot went deep in the crease and finished the game off with a hit over long-on. 

ALSO READ | 85 days to go: When Pakistan dropped Sachin and possibly the World Cup

The whole stadium erupted in joy except the Proteas who looked on in disbelief. It was the highest successful run-chase in the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Elliot struck seven boundaries and whacked three all-important sixes in his knock of 84 from 73 deliveries. Later on, South African skipper AB de Villers admitted that it would take a while for the team to recover from such a shock. They would have to wear the 'chokers' tag for another four years at least.


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