Auckland: New Zealand today scripted history by making their maiden cricket World Cup final appearance with a stunning four-wicket win in a nerve-wrecking last-four clash against the formidable South Africa, finally shedding the tag of perennial under-achievers in the mega event.
Chasing a stiff target of 298 runs in 43 overs under the Duckworth/Lewis rule in the rain-curtailed game, New Zealand crossed the line when Grant Elliot (84) smashed Dale Steyn over long-on for a six with just one ball to spare in a thrilling showdown.
Needing 12 to win off six balls, Vettori found the fence to bring the equation down to five from two balls, before Elliot hit the winning runs as the Eden Park broke into wild celebrations.
The result meant the perennial choker’s tag would continue to haunt South Africa and they would once again look for soul searching.
Since the inaugural edition in 1975, New Zealand have reached the semifinals of the showpiece event six times, but failed to clear the penultimate hurdle on all the occasions.
However, they looked determined to script history today and despite being set a daunting target, the Kiwis never gave up and were spurred on by a vociferous home crowd.
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