The dream is over! Proteas out of World Cup

New Zealand have made history by reaching their first final after defeating the Proteas at Eden Park.

The New Zealand cricket team celebrate during semifinal match against the Proteas during the 2015 Cricket World Cup on 24 March. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - For a second successive time, New Zealand sent the Proteas crashing out of the Cricket World Cup, this time a more nail-biting affair at Eden Park, winning by four wickets with one ball to spare.

The Proteas innings got off to somewhat of a nervous start as they found themselves two wickets down with 31 runs on the board, but an 83 run partnership between Faf du Plessis and Rilee Rossouw brought the South Africans back in the game.

Rossouw was the third wicket to fall in the 26th over, caught brilliantly by Martin Guptill.

Captain AB de Villiers was next in at the crease and in typical fashion, he wasted no time getting stuck in, accelerating the scoring with some lovely strokes to the boundary.

The match was interrupted for over an hour by rain after the 38th over and it proved to have slowed the Proteas' momentum as with the second ball of the 39th over, after the delay, du Plessis was dismissed for a great knock of 82.

Miller was the last scalp to head back to the du out for a blistering 49 off 18 as the Proteas set the Black Caps a total of 298 to win from a revised 43 overs, thanks to the Duckworth/Lewis Method.

Opening batsmen Brendon McCullum and Guptill raced to a stand of 71 runs from 6.1 overs, before McCullum departed for 59.

Two overs later, Morne Morkel picked up his second wicket when he did away with Kane Williamson for six.

The Proteas seemed to be on top of things as they picked up the man, Guptill for 34, run out by Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock to reduce the co-hosts to 128/3 after 18 overs.

Ross Taylor was the fourth man to go down four overs later and thereafter, the Black Caps managed to turn things around in their favour as Grant Elliot and Corey Anderson consolidated the run chase, putting on a 103 run partnership for the fifth over.

Morkel found the breakthrough again as he got Anderson caught for 58 with New Zealand on 252 and once again, the momentum swung back in South Africa's favour as the sixth wicket fell, with Luke Ronchi going for eight.

With their hearts in their throats, sitting on their edges of their seats, fans were treated to a spectacular end to the match as the Proteas took it to the wire. However, dropped catches and missed stumpings proved to be their greatest undoing as the South African-born Elliot blasted a six off the penultimate ball of the final over to extinguish the Protea fire.

REACTION

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula says he's proud of the Proteas' performance despite their exit from the Cricket World Cup.

He says they were simply beaten by the better side.

"They played against a formidable New Zealand side and I think they gave it their best shot and they nearly came out on top.

"We salute AB de Villiers and the team. However, one team must win and the best team won today."

Meanwhile, de Villiers says he has never felt worse.

"It's difficult to say what kind of emotions I'm feeling. It's obviously painful. Lots of people were back home supporting us. It hurts to think of all them. We so badly wanted to bring the trophy home. But I guess life moves on and the sun will come up again tomorrow like our coach ha said numerous times in this tournament."