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Heroes and Villains: Was Black Caps v South Africa the greatest one-dayer ever?

We celebrate the good, the bad and the ugly in the first Cricket World Cup semifinal between the Black Caps and South Africa at Eden Park

Is Grant Elliot the new Beaver?

Hero of the day

Grant Elliott! Who else? The South African-born all-rounder rode his luck on his way to a match-winning 84 off 73 balls, but boy - did he seize the moment. Surely a Stephen Donald like TV Movie is on its way.

Notable mention: Brendon McCullum. The New Zealand captain's breath-taking knock (59 off 32 balls) set the tone and made his side believe that seven runs an over was possible against the world's best attack.

Villain of the day

How can there be a villain on a night like this? Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn all had moments they would rather forget but this match had too many twists and turns to single out an individual player. Although you suspect New Zealand's hero may in fact be South Africa's villain. Oh the irony.

Play of the day

Martin Guptill's catch was out of the top drawer but for pure significance the terrible mix-up between Farhaad Behardien and JP Duminy, which saw Elliott dropped in the second to last over, stuck out like a sore thumb. It was a near-collision that signalled a changing of the guard. Had the catch been taken, surely black tears would have rained down on Eden Park.

Crowd watch

Instead tears of joy erupted all over grown men like never before. 41,000 fans rode every emotion with their cricketing heroes. The roar at the end was deafening and prolonged: 40 years in the making. Spare a thought for the smattering of South African fans. Sport can be so cruel.

Talking point

Duckworth Lewis. Was the revised target a fair reflection on where South Africa would have got to? Remember the new equation is for a side to double their score at 35 overs if they have wickets in hand. South Africa was 184/3 with 15 overs to go before the rain came. You do the math.

Quotes of the day

"She's got a wedding on Friday. Unfortunately, I will miss her wedding. I'm sorry. She's pretty happy for me but I'm going to have to get her a special gift I think."

Don't worry Grant Elliott.We're sure your sister will forgive you.

"I tried my best to catch the ball, I didn't, and life moves on. We had our chances after that but if you want to see it that way, that I cost us the match, I'll take it."

AB de Villiersaccepts that he made a mistake but you have to feel for the best batsman in the world. No one wanted this game more

Semifinal verdict

At this stage it's quite hard to put a marker on this match, but what the hell - let's do it anyway! This match will rank as the second greatest World Cup game ever, only beaten by the epic 1999 semi-final between Australia and South Africa. That game, of course, gave the Proteas the infamous chokers tag and they haven't been able to shake it since.

Final Prospects

Dare to dream New Zealand. The final, whether it be against Australia or India, will bring a number of new challenges - a bigger crowd, less support, a slower pitch - but who would write Brendon McCullum's men off? One gets the feeling that this wild ride may just reach its crescendo come Sunday.