ICC World Cup, Semi Final-New Zealand v South Africa

South Africa 5/281 (F du Plessis 82, AB De Villiers 65*, DA Miller 49, CJ Anderson 3/72) lost to
New Zealand 6/299 (GD Elliott 84*,BB McCullum 59, CJ Anderson 58, MA Morkel 3/59)


A Grant Elliott six from the bowling of the great Dale Steyn off the second last ball of the game and New Zealand are into their first ever World Cup Final. Nine losing semi’s and no appearance in the decider between the Blackcaps and Proteas in their combined World Cup histories. Someone was going to make history. And someone was going to continue their unenviable record.

Messers Duckworth and Lewis didn’t do South Africa any favours. The Proteas rain affected total of 5/281 off 43 overs was adjusted to a target of 298 from the replied 43 overs. The Saffa’s total boosted by a late innings flourish from the big hitting David Miller, with 49 off 18 balls. AB De Villiers continued his brilliant tournament form, unbeaten on 65 off 45 balls. The innings was earlier anchored by Faf du Plessis who made 82 off 107 balls. Good score to defend in a World Cup Semi-Final.

Blackcaps skipper McCullum launches at Steyn, Philander, Morkel and co. to start the Kiwi reply. A stunning onslaught. He’s dismissed on the first ball of the 7th over. For 59 off 26 balls. New Zealand are 1/71 off 37 balls and the run chase is on. Mrs R is working and I’m at home with the kids. Dinner is late, prepared in a rush between overs. Bathtime is done in an even faster hurry. Taylor and Guptill look comfortable and more than capable of getting the job done. 21 month old Emily gets put to bed as Taylor runs Guptill out.
Is that the game? Taylor is a quality player but out of form in this tournament. Elliott is a good ordinary player. My two boys are prepared for bed but allowed to stay up for the rest of the game. The World Cup only comes around every four years.

Taylor gets out for 30 in the 22nd over and at 4/149, 298 seems a long way off. But a partnership of 103 for the 5th wicket between Elliott and Corey Anderson, as good a young all-rounder as there is in world cricket, sees New Zealand with their nose in front. My boys and I are perched up on our couch, barracking for the Kiwis.

Former Australian ODI keeper, the New Zealand born Luke Ronchi , cameos with 8 but when he holes out to the square leg boundary, the Proteas are right back in the game. But G.Elliott, born in Johannesburg, leads his adopted team to victory. Daniel Vettori plays his part, squeezing a boundary past gully while giving strike to Elliott. If anyone deserves to play in a World Cup Final, it’s DL Vettori.
A packed Eden Park loudly approve of the win when Elliott forces Steyn over the long-on boundary for six. As good as or better than the Blackcaps Test series wins over Australia in the 1980’s? Only a Kiwi could answer that. My boys are in bed when Mum gets home. Just as well.

One the great World Cup Semi Finals. Nothing will beat the Australia v South Africa tie at Birmingham in 1999. A tie was very much on the cards in this game too. The often forgotten Australia v West Indies Semi in 1996 at Chandigarh was just as good. Batting first, Ambrose and Bishop reduced Australia to 4/15 before Stuart Law (72) and Michael Bevan (69) helped move the total to competitive (in those days) score of 8/207. The Windies fell 5 runs short, Shivnarine Chanderpaul top scoring with 80. And figures of 9/0/36/4 from SK Warne.

Grant Elliott and Corey Anderson are now Semi Final stars. But the final itself is a whole new game. Uncharted territory for our fellow antipodeans. They’ll play either India or Australia. It will be massive either way. I’ll be there. Bring it on!

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. E.regnans says

    Well played L Reynolds.
    And with a ticket to the final, no less.
    Well played, indeed.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Well done , Luke and with your love of cricket I am surprised the boys didn’t get the old pommy shower of some , BO killer instead . The terrorist will be at the final as well after playing in a losing semi on the week end . There were certainly some elements of South Africa choking again at least , Herschelle Gibbs has some new playmates in the game who dropped the World Cup thanks , Luke

  3. DBalassone says

    It was an absolute classic – and I agree with right up there with the ’99 semi-final as the most gripping ODI every played. You’re right ’96 was a miracle – weren’t the Windies cruising at 2 for 160 odd in that game (peculiarly that game mirrored an Aust v WI game at the MCG in 1992, see link http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/65499.html)

    Luke can you answer this for me: what has happened to the yorker on middle stump at the crucial stages? Steyn and the other quicks seem to bowl so much short stuff it beggared belief! Is it just too hard to land the yorker these days?

  4. “As good as or better than the Blackcaps Test series wins over Australia in the 1980’s? Only a Kiwi could answer that. ”

    I was at at both, so I’ll take a crack.

    I remember being spectacularly happy at that first series win. My mate and I arrived in Perth mid-morning carrying suitcases the last day of that last test in nineteen-eighty-whatever-it-was, and we knew something special was happening because Australians were already streaming from the ground. (Always a good sign from our perspective). My memories are somewhat blurred by the spectacular celebrations accompanied by too much Emu Bitter (lesson about that stuff quickly learned), but I do remember a haka on a hill at the WACA and some gracious speech-making by Alan Border and even David Boon (who mas match referee last night, how about that?), and finally in the early hours finding somewhere to stay iwithout even being bothered at the loss of a suitcase.

    After years of (let’s be honest) shitty test playing, that test series win felt like a mountain had finally been climbed after to many failed attempts, and finally and successfully conquered.

    And last night? Last night’s win, on the back of what to most of us here has been an earth-shattering tournament performance, was another different (ODI) and spectacular mountain, I reckon. Not just the wins, but the way the wins were won; and finally, after seven attempts, getting to the final – and with a team that can win it and do do the contest proud.

    I reckon they’re different mountains, equally special. Hard to separate. I like them both a hell of a lot.

    Ask me again after we’ve won the final. :)

  5. Good on ya, Luke. Much enjoyed the report.

    You know, there’s been a lot of rhetoric this morning that the Saffers didn’t choke, but Jesus, when you weigh up all the blues they made I can’t help but think they did. I mean, you cut then some slack on the dropped catch in that collision … that you can put down to manic zeal. But the 4 run out chances they had???? The 2 with players at the stumps were cinches and the throws from within 10 yards were very gettable. Reckon they’ll become part of the Saffer choke folklore

  6. @T-Bone: We had a few expensive stuff-ups as well, you knowl. Guptill’s run-out, the near misses from stupid runs, and sub fielder Nathan McCullum’s dropped efforts (especially when magnified by a Duckworth-Lewis multiplier) certainly spring to mind more than Nathan did trying to take a catch.

  7. Great write-up Luke. The Blacks’ committee meeting at the Havey was appropriately delayed by half an hour or so last night as 12-15 young men (Rulebook and myself excluded from that description) sat glued to the big screen(s). It was great. It was fantastic to have been at the oval the other night for the Riaz-Watson duel in particular with my 5 kids + 2 of their partners in tow. Even from our position in the 2nd tier of the south-western stand – and despite being occasionally distracted by the 2 little ones (“OK, that’s enough. You sit on the end seat, and you sit next to me”) – you could feel the drama. Loved it. Like you, I’ve always taken the view that during World Cups (cricket or rugby union), the Olympics or particularly compelling tennis matches, bed-times are defunct.

  8. Pete, when you win, stuff ups are collateral damage; when you lose, they’re part of the choke. But to be fair, South Africa were magnificent. Morkel in over 39 was a colossus. But the magnificent Kiwis proved a cut above. What a game it’ll be on Sunday against out boys …. I really will be torn.

    PS Yes I know we still have a semi final to play … but pff, India … as if

  9. Oh and on the collateral damage line, by that I mean, a reputation or two might still suffer … but they don’t get called chokers

  10. Mickey Randall says

    Enjoyed your report Luke. Well done.

    There have been some great matches in this tournament so surely fifty over cricket lives on.

    The endless debate over the three formats is silly when the sport itself serves up amazing contests. And how terrific is it that we have three distinct versions of our game?

  11. There’s a difference between making mistakes in the heat of a game and choking. Run outs gets missed and catches get dropped in every game, but the closer they are to the end of a game and the easier they are or should be makes them a choke. It wasn’t Sth Africa’s fault when they needed 22 off 1 ball, and the mix up with the Duckworth Lewis calculations when they played a tie at another WC was just a stuff up.

    But, two fielders run into each other to drop an easy catch, and close to the best all round cricketer going misses that run out, and you have top put it down to the pressure of the situation, and if you mess that up due to pressure, you have choked. Just like the Donald run out in 99, when they had balls to spare, they panicked again.

    On the other hand, what incredible balls both Williamson and Elliot have had to belt sixes to win games in tight situations. Elliott had 2 balls to effectively score just 4 and tie the game, but went the big hit, high risk and high reward.


  12. Plenty of stuff-ups to go around, but also a sporting event with electric pressure throughout. Years from now maybe remembered for de Villiers’ fumbled catch that kept Anderson alive, the collision and drop that kept Elliott alive at the end, and then Elliott’s uber-dramatic six to win. But also filled with amazing effort on both sides under incredible tension. So I think “chokers” a bit harsh. Maybe more appropriate to say the Kiwis were just a little bit better on this night.

  13. Luke,
    A classic.
    I really enjoyed the match. Even as a neutral supporter, I got right into it, not really caring who won, but just being thrilled with the game.
    I, too, will be there on Sunday. And I have a suspicion that Thursday’s winner will triumph on Sunday.

  14. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks ER and Rulebook. Very much lookiing forward to attending the final.

    Damian, yes the Windies were 2/165 in that 1996 Semi. I’m baffled to by the lack of yorker length deliveries at International level. Much harder to hit the ball for six if you can’t get under it. Yorkers are like leg-spin in the 1980’s, a virtually lost art.

    Thanks for your memories Peter. I reckon the Kiwis may well be on the cusp of a very good era. Good luck for Sunday!

    Thanks T-Bone. The Saffa choke folklore book gets thicker with each World Cup.

    Thanks Daddsy, would have been great to be there for the Riaz-Watson duel. Yep, sport comes before sleep!

    Cheers Mickey. I’ve always believed one-day international cricket is still a great game. But only when the matches mean something. That’s why World Cup’s are always fantastic.

    Totally agree Sean with your definition of choking. And like Williamson’s six against Australia, what a thrilling moment Elliott’s six was.

    Glenn, despite the errors, both teams played some fantastic cricket. What a game.

    Smokie, I share your suspicion. Was last night New Zealand’s grand final? If Sunday is half as good as last night we will see a great spectacle.

  15. What a great game. There has been some superaliitive games in this tournament, with this being one of the best. However, without soundingl ike a wet blanket, i’m tempted to paraphrase Damien Fleming who said the only way the result could be better was if the six was hit off the last ball !!!

    South Africa, can they shake the unspeakable C word ; chokers ??? They still struggle at the concluding end of World Cups, a constant since their return in the early 90’s, but hey, who’s complaing ???


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