Grant Elliott (left) and Kyle Mills after the former helped New Zealand qualify for their first-ever World Cup final appearance © Getty Images
Grant Elliott (left) and Kyle Mills after the former helped New Zealand qualify for their first-ever World Cup final appearance © Getty Images

New Zealand pulled off a gut-wrenching four-wicket win over South Africa with one ball to spare in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 semi-final at Auckland. The Black Caps progressed to a World Cup final for the first time in seven attempts in the process. Shiamak Unwalla presents some of the highlights of the game. READ: New Zealand vs South Africa ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Semi-Final: South African innings highlights

1. Brendon McCullum goes about his business as usual: Brendon McCullum has registered four of the 11 fastest 50-plus scores in World Cup history. Three of those have come in this World Cup alone. Chasing 298 against South Africa in the big semi-final, McCullum played the way he knew would be best: by attacking with all his ammunition. He scythed, smashed, slapped, and otherwise hit 59 runs off 26 balls with eight fours and four sixes to bolster New Zealand to 71 in just five overs. Top 10 batsmen in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

2. Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor build the innings: After the McCullum onslaught, Kane Williamson suffered a rare failure, pulling Morne Morkel back onto his stumps to depart after scoring a mere six runs. It was then the turn of ‘Mr 237‘, Martin Guptill, and the ever-reliable Ross Taylor to consolidate the innings. The duo added a well-compiled 47 in reasonable time before being separated. Top 10 bowlers in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

3. Corey Anderson and Grant Elliott apply the finishing touches: Corey Anderson is known for his big hitting, but the situation required some finesse as well. Anderson combined with Grant Elliott to put on a game-changing 103 as New Zealand came within 44 runs of a historic World Cup semi-final win.  Top 10 fielders in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

4. Elliott breaks South Africa’s hearts: Before New Zealand’s seven-match ODI series against Sri Lanka in January 2015, Grant Elliott had last played for New Zealand in November 2013. Since his return to the side, he has scored 513 runs at 51.3. He was enjoying a moderately successful World Cup coming in and scoring a few runs whenever it was required of him. In a crunch semi-final against one of the best bowling attacks in the world, he hit a sublime unbeaten 84 off 73 deliveries. With five runs needed to win off two balls, he launched arguably the best fast bowler of this generation — Dale Steyn — for six over midwicket as South Africa suffered yet another semi-final heartbreak. Top 10 wicketkeepers in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

5. The world cries with the Proteas: After the fateful six Elliott hit off Steyn, the 40,000-plus Eden Park crowd erupted in a frenzy of delirious glee. Watching the Proteas though, even the most hardcore supporters of the Black Caps would have felt a tug at their heartstrings. Watching the likes of de Villiers, Morne Morkel, Steyn, and Faf du Plessis tearing up and shedding unabashed tears made the scenes emotionally charged. New Zealand won the match, but South Africa ended up with highly respectable defeat, and in doing so earned the respect of their opponents and the spectators at Eden Park.  Top 10 batsmen in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)