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One year ago: Grant Elliott's heave - The six heard around the world

Grant Elliott sent the Black Caps into the Cricket World Cup final with a six against South Africa's Dale Steyn. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Grant Elliott sent the Black Caps into the Cricket World Cup final with a six against South Africa's Dale Steyn. Photo / Brett Phibbs

What were you doing a year ago today?

If you are a New Zealand cricket fan, the chances are you were either at Eden Park or in front of a television, radio, computer or phone watching the World Cup semi-final between the Black Caps and South Africa.

That also means today, March 24, marks the anniversary of the most composed stroke in the country's limited overs history.

Dale Steyn gave Grant Elliott width outside off stump with the short-of-a-length penultimate delivery.

Elliott, like a baseball batter, was poised to strike with five runs required off two balls.

Listen: Ian Smith talks to Martin Devlin about calling the final over


His right foot was anchored deep in the crease, directed at point.

His left foot pointed straight. His bat swung in an arc which connected over long on.

That's when the ecstatic crowd mosh began. The cacophony must have carried across suburbs. In the normally staid media box, local cricketing sages offered Tarzan-like bellows of euphoria.

READ MORE
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Elliott delivered New Zealand into their first World Cup final in 11 attempts over 40 years. 'Four-wicket win' was quite the euphemism.

Further poetry followed. The South African-born all-rounder dispatched the world's premier pace bowler from his former homeland, then reached to lift him off the turf as he lay in anguish.

Grant Elliott helps up an upset Dale Steyn of South Africa after the end of the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final. photo / Jason Oxenham
Grant Elliott helps up an upset Dale Steyn of South Africa after the end of the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final. photo / Jason Oxenham

Elliott made 84 off 73 balls, but the six earned immortality.

New Zealand have had other ODI batting strokes of note: Kane Williamson's six to beat Australia with a wicket to spare at the same tournament; Lance Cairns' one-hander off Dennis Lillee over the longest boundary at the MCG in 1983; and Brian McKechnie's care to block Trevor Chappell's underarm in 1981 before tossing his bat.

None matched Elliott's. In two swift movements with Steyn, he encapsulated what sport is all about.

Listen: Elliott sends Black Caps into World Cup final

It also created some great fan-made YouTube videos:

- NZ Herald

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