Nostalgia in cricket is like the murmur of an old radio, broadcasting the echoes of bygone matches, where each crack of the bat and each cheer from the crowd reverberate through time.

It fills the collective consciousness of fans either with tears of joy or the torment of desolation with victory and defeat being two sides of the same coin.

Well, nine summers back to date, a South African born New Zealander, Grant Elliott played the innings of his life to surmount his adopted country over his home nation.

Yes, we are talking about the 2015 World Cup semifinal between New Zealand and South Africa, where the hosts pipped the guests by four wickets with one ball to spare courtesy this lanky all-rounder.

Grant Elliot’s 73-ball-84 undoubtedly forged ecstasy for the Blackcaps as he hoisted Dale Steyn for the winning maximum over mid-on, which forever is a sight to behold in the annals of cricketing history.

The joy on the faces of the Kiwis as this event unfolded was priceless in stark contrast to the Proteas who were left reeling in despair, suffering another defeat in an ICC tournament when nothing less than a win mattered.

So, as we immerse ourselves in another nostalgic episode of the sport we love, let’s look at how this epic saga panned out:

Francois du Plessis and Rilee Rossouw laid South Africa’s foundation with the bat

On an Eden Park surface conducive to stroke play, South Africa’s captain AB de Villiers had no hesitation to bat first when the coin fell in his favour.

Unfortunately for him and South Africa, the openers in Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock were dismissed early with only 31 runs on the board.

With the rather unexpected early dent, Vice-Captain du Plessis took the mantle in his hands to steady the Protea innings as he mounted 82 runs of 107 balls with seven fours and one maximum.

In his effort to lay a deserving foundation for the charge later, he was ably supported by Rilee Rossouw whose 39 helped cement the innings.

De Villiers and Miller put South Africa on the fast lane

With a steady foundation given by his compatriots in du Plessis and Rossouw, the captain of South Africa was in an aggressive mindset from the get go.

Undaunted by a strong Kiwi attack boasting the likes of Boult, Southee, Henry and Vettori, de Villiers was truly in his Mr. 360 mode as he pilled the runs, all across the park with an impressive 65 of just 45 balls with eight fours and one maximum.

If his charge wasn’t enough, a young David Miller was also a man on a mission justifying his aggressive aura by mounting 49 runs of only 18 balls as he lofted three maximums and six fours much to the delight of a handful of Protea supporters.

South Africa were in a dominant position at 281 for 5 before the weather Gods decided to play a role.

Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill started brightly for New Zealand

With rain having the final say in the latter part of the South African innings, New Zealand had a stiff target of 298 from 43 overs ahead of them courtesy the DLS intervention.

They had to be aggressive from the outset and that’s exactly what captain McCullum and Guptill demonstrated.

The Kiwi openers put on an indomitable stand of 71 in just six overs with the famed South African attack of Steyn and Philander being dented.

South Africa were desperate for wickets to stay in the contestas the third seamer, Morne Morkel came to the party removing McCullum and Williamson after Guptill was run out.

The match was in the balance before Grant Elliot stepped foot on the 22 yards as New Zealand needed 150 runs in 21 overs.

Grant Elliott pilled misery on his home nation enroute to a historical knock

Having been a player always on the periphery of the New Zealand squad, truth be told one did not expect Elliott to be the saviour for New Zealand on this night.

Well, the man from Transvaal in South Africa had other plans as he started cautiously attaining a measure of the surface before launching the strokes in his arsenal.

He cemented a partnership with Corey Anderson as the match progressed with both reaching their fifties before Anderson was dismissed by Morkel. New Zealand at this point still needed a further 41 runs in five overs, there was hope on either side.

South Africa claimed the ascendancy two overs later as they dismissed keeper Luke Ronchi with the Kiwis still needing 24 runs of three overs. 

In walked Daniel Vettori as he stood firm with Elliott, forcing the match into the last over with a dozen runs still required.

Dale Steyn had the ball in his hand and considering his experience, every South African faithful including me tilted towards seeing the Proteas reach their first ODI World Cup final.

Well, fate and Elliott were in firm disagreement!

With six needed of two deliveries, the cherry was deposited into the stands by this lanky lad who sealed an indelible victory for the hosts as they soared to the final.

The South African players slumped to their knees with teary eyed emotions on display as another saga of what could have been unfolded.

Truth be told, the emotion was marred by a sense of disbelief as the Proteas were knocked out of yet another ICC tournament, well this time by a fellow South African.

They say time is the biggest healer albeit for every South African, the scars of this episode nine years on still reel fresh in their mind.

Image source– Tweeted by ICC


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