By Liam Morgan

New Zealand's Grant Elliott struck a six off Dale Steyn to seal his side's place in the Cricket World Cup final ©Getty ImagesCo-hosts New Zealand booked their place in the Cricket World Cup final with a thrilling victory over South Africa in a rain-affected contest in Auckland.

Needing five runs off the final two balls in pursuit of a revised target of 298, Grant Elliott hit South African fast bowler Dale Steyn for six to seal a dramatic four-wicket win.

The Proteas had earlier posted a decent total of 281-5, which included 82 from Faf du Plessis as well as a blistering knock of 42 from just 18 deliveries from David Miller, which elevated his side to a protectable score.

But New Zealand, keen to reach their first World Cup final after six defeats at the semi-final stage, managed to get over the line in sensational style thanks largely to Elliott, who finished unbeaten on 84.

Captain Brendon McCullum also proved crucial to the victory as he smashed a rapid 22-ball half-century, and Corey Anderson was keen to get in on the act as he hit 58.

The topsy-turvy match between two of the world's best one day international sides did not disappoint as the packed-out crowd inside one of New Zealand's most iconic stadiums at Eden Park were treated to a high-quality contest.

South Africa, widely regarded by many in the cricketing world as perennial chokers on the World Cup stage, were restricted to 114-3 from 27 overs as the Black Caps demonstrated their prowess with the ball and in the field.

Captain Brendon McCullum hit a brutal 59 to help his side reach their revised target of 298 in a dramatic rain-affected contest in Auckland ©Getty ImagesCaptain Brendon McCullum hit a brutal 59 to help his side reach their revised target of 298 in a dramatic rain-affected contest in Auckland ©Getty Images

They did however manage to negotiate that tricky patch as AB de Villiers got them back into the match with a patient and composed 65, before Miller came to the crease and tore the New Zealand attack apart with a wonderful array of positive strokes to heap the pressure back on.

New Zealand once again responded well as McCullum gave his team a good platform on which to substantiate their reply, but testament to the nature of the contest South Africa themselves hit back, keeping a lid on the run rate and at one point they had their rivals struggling at 149-4.

However, Elliot and Anderson exuded calmness in the face of adversity and both players batted superbly to ensure they will get the chance to compete for the World Cup Trophy in Melbourne on Sunday (March 29).

New Zealand's win sets up a mouth-watering prospect that they may face arch rivals and fellow co-hosts Australia in the final.

However the Aussies must overcome reigning champions India in their semi-final on Thursday (March 26) if they are to reach the World Cup's showpiece finale.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
March 2015: 
Guptill breaks Cricket World Cup batting record as New Zealand crush West Indies
March 2015: Australia survive scare to seal Cricket World Cup semi-final meeting with India with win over Pakistan
March 2015: Holders India through to Cricket World Cup semi-finals as easily beat Bangladesh
March 2015: South Africa thump Sri Lanka to reach Cricket World Cup semi-finals
March 2015: Pakistan and West Indies qualify for Cricket World Cup quarter-finals as luck of the Irish runs out