Proteas stumble at the final hurdle

Black Caps skipper, Brendon McCullum was a key to New Zealand's victory over the Proteas earlier today.

South Africa bowed out of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup minutes ago.

With two balls remaining of its innings, New Zealand found the boundary rope to take the team past a Duckworth-Lewis calculated total of 298 for the victory. Truly, the match went right down to the proverbial wire.

Rain wreaked havoc on the game in the first innings, reducing both teams to an innings overs total of just 43 apiece. The Proteas posted 281 for five wickets.

After a blistering start from the Black Caps skipper, Brendon McCullum, the first spot in the World Cup finals teetered on a knife-edge as runs and wickets were aplenty.

By the fifth over, McCullum reached his half century. Two overs later, he exited the field for 59 off 26 deliveries, leaving the job of chasing down the Proteas total to Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson. However, Williamson was not long for the crease.

Next in, Ross Taylor showed his class to stabilise the New Zealand innings in the face of relit determination from the South Africans, putting 30 runs onto the total. Fortunately so, as Guptill’s suicidal run-out a few overs later left the Black Caps staggered.

After Taylor departed for the change rooms, the task of leading the team home fell to Grant Elliot, who has proven his talent as a pinch-hitter in the middle order. The opposite end was held down by the powerful Corey Anderson.

The pair put on a good partnership before Anderson hit the ball up into the lights and was caught for a run-a-ball score of 58 runs. Luke Ronchi, useful in close overs, made a small contribution of eight.

With everything to play for in the final over of the first semi-final, and Dale Steyn injuring his hamstring for the second time, Elliot teed off with a six to wrap things up.

It was a game of contrasts…

On the one hand, the Proteas performed better than ever before, and in the final game made sure New Zealand had to fight doggedly for a win. Conversely, a loss is a loss.

The second decider to determine who New Zealand will play in its first ever Cricket World Cup final takes place between India and Australia on Thursday.

Bruce Douglas

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