On this day in 2015: Heart-break for South Africa as New Zealand enter World Cup final

Grant Elliott played the innings of his life in ODI cricket when his side needed it the most. New Zealand and South Africa locked horns in the semifinal of the 2015 World Cup on 24th March 2015 in Auckland. And, it was Elliott’s magical innings under pressure that allowed the Kiwis to cross the line in an absolute humdinger of a contest against the Proteas.

On an important day, South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first. After the Ab De Villiers led side lost their openers early, the reliable Faf Du Plessis scored a patient 107 ball 82. And then, came a blitzkrieg from the willows of the legendary Ab De Villiers and David Miller.

While De Villiers scored a magical 45 ball 65*, David Miller went berserk, and plundered 49 runs at an insane strike rate of 272.22, as South Africa finished their innings with a competitive total of 281/5 in their allotted 43 overs.

The Duckworth Lewis method kicked in, and that meant that the Black Caps had to score a daunting 298 for victory in 43 overs to book a spot in the final. Martin Guptill and the explosive Brendon McCullum started the run chase in a scintillating fashion. The two batsmen were involved in a 71-run stand off just 6.1 overs, and it looked as if New Zealand would romp home with ease. But then, the wicket of McCullum slowed things down. Kane Williamson departed soon after, and South Africa were back into the game.

Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor walked back to the pavilion, and the Kiwi scorecard read 151/4 after 22 overs. The match was slipping out of New Zealand’s grasp. And, at a time when the Kiwis desperately needed somebody to step up, Corey Anderson and Grant Elliott rose to the occasion.

The duo put on a 103-run partnership off 16.2 overs to tilt the match in favour of the Kiwis. And finally, with 12 runs needed off the last over, Elliott applied the finishing touches as the Black Caps secured a sensational victory over South Africa. Elliott had scripted one of the greatest Houdini Acts in World Cup history and had scored 84* off just 73 balls. The Kiwis booked a spot in the final, and a packed stadium in Auckland erupted with joy.

Elliott won the Man of the Match award for his game-changing innings. Even six years later, the memories of this match stay fresh in our minds because of the classic performances that both sides dished out on the field.