Auckland, March 24: A crestfallen South African skipper AB De Villiers admitted on Tuesday New Zealand were the better team and deservedly won the first semi-final, knocking his team out of the World Cup by four wickets in a thrilling match. (Twitter: Fans reaction after New Zealand beat South Africa)
New Zealand successfully chased down a target of 298 runs in 43 overs, with a ball to spare, in a rain-curtailed match at the Eden Park here on Tuesday.
New Zealand's win extended South Africa's misery in the mega event as they have never entered the final of the competition despite being regularly getting billed as one of the favourites.
"Amazing game of cricket. I guess the better team has come out on top. I couldn't ask for anything more from our boys, will take a while to get over this. We gave it our best, it's hurting quite a bit," de Villiers said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
"We played to make a difference, I hope the people back home will still be proud of us."
Chasing a revised target of 298 from 43 over as determined by the Duckworth-Lewis system, New Zealand got over the line primarily due to the efforts of middle-order batsman Grant Elliot (84 not out) who pacer smashed Dale Steyn into the stands to seal the victory.
The 31-year-old SOuth African skipper also said it had been a wonderful journey where some of their players performed brilliantly to take them this far in the mega tournament and wished luck to the teams that would eventually battle it out for the trophy at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 29.
"There have been great performances. I felt we had a wonderful thing going. Had a great feeling, don't want to single out any individual performance as we were like a unit but we didn't just stuck today, credit to all those individual performances, and all the best to the teams in the final," concluded De Villiers.