Abu Dhabi - Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has admitted the Proteas were keeping one eye on the clock in trying to win the game against Bangladesh in the shortest possible time.
Rabada led a charge that saw the Proteas dismiss Bangladesh for just 84 before the batsmen survived an early wobble to get home in the 14th over.
It was significant in the context of South Africa's position in Pool 1 as it has now elevated the Proteas' net run-rate to 0.742 in comparison to third-placed Australia's -0.627.
"We tried to finish the game as early as possible, and I think we're happy with where we finished the game," Rabada said. "There was a clear instruction that we should try to finish the game before (over) 15, and we did that."
These are the semi-final permutations in Pool 1:
Played: 4, Points: 6, NRR: 0.742, Remaining match: vs England
South Africa have two routes to the semi-finals. Beat England on Saturday and its a straight forward passage. Lose and get caught up in a net run-rate battle with possibly Australia or potentially West Indies. At the moment the Proteas have the advantage of a superior NRR of 0.742, which is well ahead of Australia's -0.627.
Played: 3, Points: 4, NRR: -0.627, Remaining matches: vs Bangladesh, West Indies
Australia play both their remaining matches before the South Africa-England contest, and could place the Proteas in a must-win situation if they manage to win both their matches. However, lose both and they are eliminated, while one victory will put them level on points with South Africa and then hope that England beat the Proteas by a big enough margin to eradicate the superior NRR.
Played: 3, Points: 2, NRR: -1.598, Remaining matches: vs Sri Lanka, Australia
The defending champions have the toughest road to qualify of the teams that still hold a mathematical chance of progression. The Windies can only reach a maximum of six points, which the Proteas already have, but their NRR is way behind after being bowled out for just 55 by England in their opening game. It is a major hurdle for Kieron Pollard's team to overcome, although SA will be hoping for a Windies win over Australia to ease their passage.
Played: 4, Points: 8, NRR: 3.183, Remaining match: vs South Africa
The group favourites have dominated Pool 1 are the only unbeaten team on eight points already. Even a defeat to South Africa in their last match should still see Eoin Morgan's side top the group and progress to the semis due to their vastly superior NRR.