A month ago, they crowed as World No 1, with a clutch of players in the upper echelons of the world rankings.
But, as it has proved for so many years, those rankings are mere sugar-coating, because all resistance crumbles when it comes to tournament cricket.
The Proteas went down by 19 runs to Pakistan on the Duckworth/Lewis Method on Wednesday night due to a rain delay that kept the teams off the field, with Pakistan on 119/3 off 27 overs in reply to the 219/8 of their opponents.
Since arriving in
Well, here we are at that tournament and the whole thing is in tatters. The batting display offered up against a gallant, but inexperienced
The shots smacked of the arrogance that AB de Villiers had dismissed
Cricket has a wicked sense of humour, and it was one of those so-called part-timers, Imad Wasim, who accounted for De Villiers first ball, a forgettable first for
It wasn’t just De Villiers, mind, but his shot made the least sense in the circumstances, in the tournament and in the very moment that he and the team have spoken so often about.
It was an horrific batting display, and Edgbaston (surely
There were roars every time a green-coloured jumper touched a ball, and an explosion when they nipped out yet another South African player.
The Proteas played in ‘away yellow’, due to a supposed clash of colours, and they were decidedly unfamiliar to the eye.
At 118/6 after 29 overs, there was a danger of being bowled out for less than 150 even as shots kept being played instead of the hatches being battened down.
One man played with a semblance of responsibility in the top-order, though. He never got to three figures, but David Miller (75 not out off 104 balls) produced a stout effort that he can be proud of, a Test-match like shift that gave his bowlers a sniff.
But, to have a chance, they had to be miserly with the ball, dare not offer half-trackers and half-volleys.
Wayne Parnell, who had spoken of consistency being a key component of his game, produced a near identical spell to the carnage he suffered against
With an eye on the weather,
The lanky veteran bowled with grit, and ought to have bowled out his entire 10 there and then, such was his control and intensity.
Five overs, 2/6 was his initial reward, but he wasn’t the same after. How could he be? The game had run away from
The Proteas, No 1 in the world during the meaningless meander between tournaments, now face the very real prospect of not even seeing the semi-finals.
The part-timers of
When it rains, it tends to pour.