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28 March 201517:48

The story behind the photo of the tournament

The photographer who captured the touching moment between Dale Steyn and Grant Elliott says it showed the respect between the two sides

The story behind the photo of the tournament - Cricket News
It was the photo that perfectly captured the raw emotion at Eden Park after Tuesday’s semi-final in a way words never could.

The image of Grant Elliot, fresh from scoring the winning six, bending down to take the hand of a shattered Dale Steyn is one that has been shared around the globe since Tuesday’s match.

The Getty Images photographer who captured the touching exchange, Hannah Peters, said she was seated high in Eden Park’s North Stand as the final over played out.

“I was focused on Steyn bowling,” she said.

“It all happened in a split second with the six and I was focused on Steyn because he was throwing his arm band on the pitch and was quite dejected, then Elliot popped into the frame and it happened.

“The whole match, both teams had so much respect for each other. It was nice to illustrate that.”

Peters, who has been shooting sporting events since 2001, said the atmosphere at Eden Park trumped anything she had seen before.

“At that final moment I had people behind me who took their shirts off and were throwing them off the top of the stand in front of me,” she said.

“The only thing comparable in New Zealand would be the Rugby World Cup final in 2011 but I would say this match was special because New Zealand weren’t expected to win necessarily.

“The euphoria, nerves and tension made it pretty unique.”

The moment between Elliot and Steyn embodied the ‘spirit of cricket’ and the respect between rivals familiar with the pain of lost finals.

For every Black Caps fist-pump and high five after the winning six, there was a consoling pat on the back or hug for devastated Protea.

After the match, Elliot said he felt for the Proteas.

"It was a great feeling for the team. You look at the crowd and you savour that moment and realise you've reached the final,” Elliot said after the match.

"(But) you have to feel compassion (for South Africa).

“I felt quite sorry for him (Steyn) and quite sorry for a lot of the South African guys.

"It could have been us. It could have been me sitting there, having missed the last two balls. I would have been pretty gutted as well."

The 35-year-old batsman, who was in Johannesburg and immigrated to New Zealand in 2001, had not represented his country since November 2013 when he was included in New Zealand’s World Cup squad off the back of good domestic form.

Two months later, the right-hander is a national hero after he steered the Black Caps into their first World Cup final, playing a crucial knock of 84-not-out before hitting the six off Steyn’s bowling to seal victory off the second last ball of the match.