LONDON – There is simply no place left to hide for Faf du Plessis and his woeful Proteas team.
The final straw was the 49-run defeat to Pakistan at Lord's on Sunday, which condemned South Africa to its worst World Cup campaign since another botched effort in 2003 on home soil.
Back then, it was South Africa's failure to interpret a Duckworth-Lewis sheet. Here in the United Kingdom, it is has just been a glaring lack of skill and failure to execute under pressure.
Considering this Proteas side were ranked No 3 in the world heading into the tournament, and now only have a sole victory over last-placed Afghanistan to their credit, it should come as no surprise that Du Plessis is embarrassed by what has transpired over the last three-and-bit weeks.
“Yes, definitely [it is the lowest point]. I'm a very proud player and captain, and playing for South Africa means a lot for me, and the fact that the results we're dishing out at the moment - you know, it's really, really tough, and borderline... today, it's a little bit embarrassing. We're trying but it's just not good enough. Obviously I'm human as well, so it will keep chipping at me,” Du Plessis said.
“I've always said that the most enjoyment I get from the game and playing for South Africa is captaining the side.
“The fact that we are playing way below our potential is not something that sits well. There is too much pride for me.
“I'm trying as much as I can, but not everything is in my hands. If I could, I would get my wand out and get some runs on the table for our batters, but I can't unfortunately.”
All teams makes mistakes. The good ones, though, learn from theirs - and quickly too. South Africa have instead stumbled along like amateurs here, repeating their errors game after game with almost comical consequences.
“You know, I feel we keep making the same mistakes over and over again,” Du Plessis said.
“Probably started off with the bowling. Our bowling has been the one thing that's been working this tournament, and today, a well-below-par performance, probably bar Immy [Imran Tahir], who was exceptional once again.
“But the rest of the guys, probably, you know, five-out-of-ten performance with the ball, 30 runs too many [given away] and the same thing with the bat once again. We're starting our innings losing wickets again and then we build something nicely, get a partnership going, and then wicket and then wicket.”@ZaahierAdams
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