Few New Zealand cricketers have been defined by one heroic moment like Grant Elliott.

The 39-year-old has retired from the game, completing an international and domestic career spanning 21 years and including five tests, 83 ODIs and 17 T20s.

Yet he is immortalised by a six at Eden Park in 2015.

Elliott belted Dale Steyn, South Africa's premier pace bowler, into the stands to take New Zealand into their first World Cup final with a ball to spare.

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The wallop resonated, as did reaching down to lift a prone and distraught Steyn off the turf.

'Four-wicket win' seemed a somewhat inept description, considering the drama witnessed.

The all-rounder's 84 off 73 balls remains arguably the most poised performance in the country's ODI history.

Few other career-defining moments would trump Elliott's piece de resistance, considering a finals place was at stake.

Half a dozen spring to mind:

1. Bob Blair summoning the courage to walk out to bat at Ellis Park on Boxing Day 1953 after learning of his fiancee's death in the Tangiwai disaster.

2. Rodney Redmond's 107 and 56 in his solitary test against Pakistan at Auckland in 1973.

3. Peter Petherick's hat-trick on test debut against Pakistan at Lahore in 1976.

4. Vaughan Brown intervening in Sir Richard Hadlee's 9-52 figures at the 'Gabba in 1985 to get his first test wicket. Geoff Lawson slogswept to, poetically, Hadlee at mid-wicket.

5. Debutant Chris Kuggeleijn pouching Arun Lal in the cordon to help Hadlee to a world record 374th test wicket in 1988 at Bangalore.

6. Brian McKechnie enduring Trevor Chappell's 1981 underarm.

The beauty of Elliott's glory was that he foreshadowed it in September. He joked he could "produce a Stephen Donald moment, should it be required", in reference to the former All Blacks first-five kicking the winning penalty in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final.

Hey presto, despite the fact Elliott's chances of making the World Cup squad originally looked slim.

Domestic Twenty20 form and the respect of captain Brendon McCullum saw him earn a reprieve and, courtesy of the Alternative Commentary Collective, the moniker "Hairy Javelin" for his hirsute and lithe appearance.

Elliott came to New Zealand from South Africa in 2001 and gained residency in 2007. One of his most evocative memories came the previous time the World Cup was played in Australia and New Zealand. It coincided with the Proteas' tournament debut.

"The 1992 World Cup was the reason I started playing cricket," Elliott recalled.

"My mum let me stay at home to watch South Africa versus Australia. I got suspended from school as a result, and wasn't allowed to play cricket in the Wednesday and Saturday games.

"It was well worth it, though. That tournament made me realise I wanted to be a professional cricketer."

Yesterday he reflected on that dream, via his Instagram account.

"Started in Johannesburg finished in Birmingham. I remember being 12 and writing down my life goals. To play in a World Cup, play international cricket and play county cricket. 27 years on and I have loved every minute of it."