NZ v SA: the world reacts

11:51 pm on 24 March 2015

New Zealand and South Africa's semi-final match was a match keenly watched by both sides: neither had ever made a World Cup final previously, and this was New Zealand's seventh semi-final.

New Zealand bowler Corey Anderson celebrates South African batsman Faf du Plessis being caught by New Zealand keeper Luke Ronchi.

New Zealand bowler Corey Anderson celebrates South African batsman Faf du Plessis being caught by New Zealand keeper Luke Ronchi. Photo: AFP

With South Africa's reputation for choking, and New Zealand having the benefit of playing at home, it might have surprised some when the TAB picked South Africa as their favourites.

This choice seemed legitimate down to the final seconds of the match - until, in a move that no one could have anticipated, New Zealand made good, and are now on their way to the final.

Ahead of the match, Black Caps' coach Mike Hesson said it best: "Two sides are playing good cricket, and it's going to be a heck of a show."

New Zealand's Martin Guptill is run out for 34 runs.

New Zealand's Martin Guptill is run out for 34 runs. Photo: AFP

Spirits and hopes remained high, though as the second innings wore on, New Zealand fans grew increasingly tense, particularly after the reasonably early losses of Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill.

As late as three quarters of the way through the match, the outcome remained uncertain, though South African fans remained optimistic.

Despite a nail-biting finish, with no obvious winner in sight...

...Grant Elliott sent the ball flying high over midwicket, giving New Zealand a win by four wickets - and a ball to spare.

While South Africa dries its eyes...

...New Zealand breathes a collective sigh of relief, and goes about celebrating - even if it is a Tuesday night.

New Zealand batsman Corey Anderson plays a shot.

New Zealand are off to their first World Cup final. Photo: AFP

First reactions from around the world

  • The Guardian's Simon Burnton: "What a brilliantly dramatic game. South Africa's players are strewn around the ground, in various stages of physical or emotional disarray. New Zealand celebrate. Fireworks dirty the night sky. Fantastic."
  • Ex-New Zealand captain Jeremy Coney: "Don't talk to me about choking. They have given everything they could and they tried hard. The rain cruelly prevented South Africa going any further in their innings."
  • The Cricketer's Andrew Miller: "Amazing from Grant Elliott, the man I once mistook for a night-watchman during an England warm-up in Dunedin. That set the record straight!"
  • The New Zealand Herald's Andrew Alderson: "The days of miracle and wonder continue for New Zealand's cricketers. How poetic do you want?"
  • Cricinfo: "Oh, what a night. We will never forget it."
  • Vicki Hodges, The Daily Telegraph: "What a win for New Zealand and what an innings for Grant Elliott, finishing on an unbeaten 84... New Zealand, so often the bridesmaids after seven semi-final defeats, finally have their moment in the sun."
  • The Indian Express cut to the bone: "It's unfortunate that one team has to lose and it's South Africa today. They are deeply disappointed but they have themselves to blame at the end of the day. Too many dropped catches at crucial stages and it proved fatal."
  • AB de Villiers leaves us with a few words:

    "Amazing game of cricket. Probably the most electric crowd I have ever heard in my life. I guess the best team has come out on top. We gave it our best. No regrets. We left it all out there. It is hurting. It is going to take a while to recover."

    And McCullum can hardly contain his excitement for what has been an amazing match:

    "These boys, I am so proud of them. A lesser team would have laid down today. To see Grant come in and be as calm as he was... we've given ourselves a chance of the big prize. Credit to South Africa, they gave as good as they got. I feel for them at the moment. But our boys were outstanding."

    Finally, some strong words from an Australian critic:

    Missed the game? Catch up with our LIVE coverage here.