World Cup: South Africa-born Elliott revels in New Zealand win

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport in Auckland
Grant Elliott celebrates
Elliott hit Dale Steyn for six to seal New Zealand's place in the final
World Cup final
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Date: Sun 29 March Time: 04:30 BST
Coverage: Live Test Match Special radio and text commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave & BBC Sport website, plus desktop, tablets, mobiles and app

Grant Elliott said his match-winning 84 that took New Zealand to the World Cup final at the expense of South Africa was a repayment to his adopted home.

Johannesburg-born Elliott, 36, who immigrated to New Zealand in 2001, hit the penultimate ball for six to seal victory in Auckland.

"I wanted to become a New Zealander and I have made it my home," said Elliott.

"It's great to repay the hospitality that everyone has shown. I love this country."

Test Match Special commentary on the finale
"That will go for six! Grant Elliott takes New Zealand to their first World Cup final!"
Listen to the match-winning moment here

Elliott arrived at the crease with New Zealand 149-4 in the 22nd over, needing 298 from 43 overs for victory and a meeting with either Australia or India in Melbourne.

By hitting Dale Steyn for six over long-on in Auckland, he sealed the co-hosts' first appearance in a World Cup final after six previous semi-final defeats.

"That win is for the fans and the four million people in New Zealand," said Elliott. "The support has been overwhelming.

"The feeling in the team is that it is destined. That is how I felt. It feels like it was meant to be."

Cricket World Cup 2015: How New Zealand beat South Africa

Elliott said he had always wanted to play in a World Cup since 1992, when his mother let him stay home to watch Australia play South Africa in Sydney in what was the Proteas' inaugural appearance at the tournament.

"I got suspended from cricket and from school for a while because I did that, but it left a massive impression on me," said Elliott.

"I thought that tournament, the coloured clothing, everything was what I wanted to do and it's funny how life works. It's amazing to be at Eden Park today to hit the winning run."

Twitter reaction
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen: "South Africa DID NOT CHOKE. They got beaten by a better team today. AB led the team wonderfully well. But, well done NZ. See you in Sydney."
Australia head coach Darren Lehmann: Congrats @NZcricket1 and congrats @BrendanMcCullum and team, loved the ANZAC spirit, well done to Grant Elliott!
Former Australia spinner Shane Warne: "Please hold your heads high South Africa, you've done everyone proud as you gave it absolutely everything. Congratulations to the NZ team who were outstanding in their run chase."

Elliott was recalled to the Black Caps squad for the World Cup after an 18-month international absence.

"He came out of the wilderness not long ago and now just played a match-winning innings in a World Cup semi-final," said New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.

"Everyone that was here will remember it for the rest of their lives. We have given ourselves a chance of World Cup glory and I'm proud of our efforts."

Swann in awe of 'wonderful' New Zealand win

After being hit for the winning runs, South Africa pace bowler Steyn sank to the turf in disappointment.

In scenes reminiscent of the famous embrace between Andrew Flintoff and Brett Lee during the 2005 Ashes, Elliott helped Steyn back to his feet to commiserate him.

"You have to feel compassion," said Elliott. "I felt quite sorry for him and a lot of the South African guy. We could have lost and it could have been me sitting there.

"To stay humble in victory and humble in defeat is part of who I am."

Elliott also revealed that he will have to miss his sister's wedding in order to prepare for Sunday's final.

"Unfortunately I'll miss her wedding, so can it go into the press that I'm sorry?" he said. "She's pretty happy for me, but I'll have to give her a special gift."

Listen to highlights from Test Match Special's and 5 live Sport's 2015 World Cup coverage.

New Zealand's World Cup record
YearStage reached
1975Semi-finals (beaten by West Indies)
1979Semi-finals (beaten by England)
1983Group stage (third in Group A)
1987Group stage (third in Group A)
1992Semi-final (beaten by Pakistan)
1996Quarter-finals (beaten by Australia)
1999Semi-finals (beaten by Pakistan)
2003Super sixes (fifth in table)
2007Semi-finals (beaten by Sri Lanka)
2011Semi-finals (beaten by Sri Lanka)

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