After the one-sided matches at the quarter-final stage, the Cricket World Cup came alive again earlier today, with a dramatic finale to the first semi-final between New Zealand and South Africa. New Zealand clinched their place in their first World Cup final, thanks to Grant Elliott's six off the bowling of Dale Steyn, from the penultimate ball of the innings. They had looked to be behind the required rate for much of their innings, but in the final assessment judged it to perfection with a big slice of lady luck on their side. The big hit secured victory by four wickets for the Kiwis at Eden Park in Auckland, in a rain-affected match.

After winning the toss, South Africa opted to bat first and posted a respectable 281-5 off their reduced allocation of 43 overs. They lost early wickets and also saw the fielders drop two early catches, but recovered from 31-2 with a third-wicket stand of 83 runs and an even better partnership of 103 for the fourth wicket, as the New Zealanders tinkered with their bowling options, utilising seven bowlers in total. Faf du Plessis (82) and AB de Villiers (65) with his usual rapid innings were the main scorers for the Proteas, with David Miller also adding quick runs down the order, as he fell one run short of a half-century from just 18 balls faced.

Tim Southee was for once wicketless (0-55) but Trent Boult continued his fine World Cup with a 2-53 spell, including the wicket of the ever dangerous Hashim Amla.

Corey Anderson took three wickets, but earned them the hard way, leaking 72 runs from his 6 overs.

In reply, with an adjusted total of 298 to chase down, the Kiwis sprinted out of the traps with captain Brendon McCullum requiring just 22 balls to hit a half-century. He departed not long afterwards for 59, with Kane Williamson making just 6 and their double-centurion from quarter-final, Martin Guptill being run out by Amla on 34.

Kiwi hopes were boosted by a timely 103-run stand for the fifth wicket that took them to within touching distance of their target, as Elliott and Anderson (58) led their charge.

When Anderson fell in the 38th over, the Black Caps still needed the tall order of 46 runs from 5 overs, but they had reduced that to 12 runs by the start of the final over from Steyn, as Elliott survived a chance of a catch in the second to last over.

The old head of Daniel Vettori joined Elliott at the end, as they required 5 more runs from the last two balls of the 43rd and final over. Elliott deposited Steyn into the crowd off the fifth ball to remain not out on 84 at the end from a total of 299-6 and New Zealand fans could finally celebrate their appearance in a World Cup final. Elliott fully justified his selection against the country of his birth, after not playing ODI cricket in recent times, coming up 'trumps' just when his adopted country needed him the most.

Morne Morkel put in his usual reliable stint of pace bowling to take 3-59, but Steyn was for once slightly off the rhythm that ranks him as the number one fast bowler in the world, taking just the one wicket for 76 runs.

The result was yet more heartbreak for the visitors, with a fourth unsuccessful semi-final at a World Cup to come to terms with. However, the Kiwis have suffered even more agony down the years, as this was their first semi-final success after six previous defeats at that stage.

New Zealand now wait patiently to see if it will be India or their big rivals Australia who they face in Sunday's final in Melbourne.