2015 World Cup: Elliott exorcises the ghosts of 1992

Grant Elliott, with arms aloft, let out a roar that seamlessly diffused into the 45,000 fans screaming themselves hoarse as he took New Zealand to the final.

With five needed off two balls, Dale Steyn banged a back of a length delivery and Grant Elliott lifted it over wide long-on to power New Zealand to its maiden World Cup final.   -  Getty Images

Sometimes, in fact, more often than not, things fall into place by design. Grant Elliott was so good on that fateful night in Auckland that with the brandishing of the willow, he sent a rapturous Eden Park into delirium while simultaneously sending the South African players and supporters into what, at the time, looked like a bottomless pit of despair.

With five needed off two balls, Dale Steyn banged a back of a length delivery and Elliott lifted it over wide long-on to power New Zealand to its maiden World Cup final even as South Africa was left to rue another defeat in the closing stages of a marquee event.

READ | Dhoni, through the eyes of family, teachers, friends

Elliott, with arms aloft, let out a roar that seamlessly diffused into the 45,000 fans screaming themselves hoarse in victory. The shot meant a lot more to them than just qualifying; it exorcised the ghosts of the 1992 World Cup when the Kiwis had stumbled in the semis, going down to eventual champion Pakistan.

Elliott’s unbeaten 73-ball 84 was studded with seven fours and three sixes, the last of which was a microcosm of New Zealand's spirited run in the tournament: get a start, then attack, keep attacking and seal it with a flourish. “There was nothing going in my mind when I hit the six. I don’t even know where the ball went,” Elliott, who was named man of the match, said after the knock.

ALSO READ | Kuldeep Yadav - the accidental chinaman

It was ultimately ironic that the South Africa-born New Zealand all-rounder hit the winning runs to oust the nation of his birth. Elliott finished the World Cup as the second-highest run-getter for New Zealand, with 310 runs from nine matches at a strike rate of 105.44.

An aggressive lower-order batsman, Elliott made his first-class debut for Gauteng in South Africa before moving to New Zealand in 2001. He played five Tests, 83 One-Day Internationals and 17 Twenty20 Internationals for New Zealand.