South Africa are in a state of mourning after Tuesday’s semi-final defeat, but on the other side of the world the congratulatory notes have been pouring in as the New Zealand media revel in their team’s success.
Some of the Australian media meanwhile, used some bold words. Here’s what the media thought of the spectacle in Auckland.
Sydney Morning Herald
The Australians aren’t always the first to congratulate their neighbours, but Herald writer Greg Braum was quick to compliment their potential opponents in the final, saying it was an ‘exorcism’ after losing six semi-finals previously. ‘New Zealand seized the day, South Africa seized up,’ he continued, as he compared Brendon McCullum’s rampage at the top of the innings to something that Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson wouldn’t dare to script. He declared the most calamitous moment of the match as JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien’s clash which led to a dropped catch at the death. The newspaper called the game ‘One of the greatest World Cup contests in the 40-year history of the tournament.’
The Daily Telegraph, Sydney
The Daily Telegraph produced a report card based on the players individual performances. As expected, Grant Elliot was the highest rated with 9, while McCullum was given an 8. AB de Villiers and David Miller were also handed 8s as the best performers for the Proteas. ‘With the ball he wasn’t a match-winner but did no worse than some of the full-time pacemen. And off the field he was all class, showing extreme humility in defeat,’ said writer Antony Pinshaw of AB de Villiers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he gave Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn a pair of 3s, stating Abbott’s exclusion as ‘a strange move which backfired badly.’
It was bound to happen, and it was Marc Dodd from The Australian who chose to do it, going where most didn’t dare. The headline of his story read ‘Chokers? Not these sports stars’, with Grant Elliot on the front. ‘As Grant Elliott’s glorious six sailed into the stars and the sun set on another South African World Cup campaign, the term ‘choke’ was gleefully reverberating around Australia’, Dodd said in his opening line. He went on to reminisce about the Proteas defeats to Australia and Sri Lanka in previous tournaments. ‘It’s easy to see how the Proteas earned their ‘choker’ tag’, he said. Another headline read ‘Proteas drop cup again’.
As expected, the newspapers in New Zealand reflected more on their own triumph than the Proteas defeat. The cricket writers from the NZ Herald however were slightly more sporting in their comments when they were asked to describe their favourite moments. ‘There’s something about that picture that sums up perfectly why I love sport,’ said Dylan Cleaver on the moment Grant Elliot shook a floored Dale Steyn’s hand. Andrew Alderson stated his favourite moment as ‘the post-match crowd erupting into a spontaneous standing ovation as AB de Villiers walked to the media conference.’
New Zealand Star
Veturi Srivatsa of the New Zealand Star was cautious in his wording when it came to calling the Proteas ‘chokers’. He broke down the moments where the Proteas lost control of the game, and summed it up with ‘that’s what tension does to the best of people and the South Africans have in the past succumbed to pressure to be labelled “chokers”.’ He was more creative in his wording when he described Grant Elliot’s heroics. ‘The Johannesburg-born Elliot could pass for a monk in search of nirvana.’