LONDON • South Africa's players expressed bitter disappointment and even embarrassment after their elimination from the World Cup was ensured by their 49-run defeat by Pakistan at Lord's on Sunday, but they said they would learn lessons and return stronger.
The Proteas' chances of progressing evaporated after they logged their fifth loss in seven matches, making it mathematically impossible for them to secure a top-four spot and a place in the semi-finals.
It was only the second time, and the first since 2003, that South Africa have failed to make the knockout stages.
The tame manner of their elimination was tough for captain Faf du Plessis to swallow as he watched his side struggle to 259-9 in response to Pakistan's 308-7.
"It's becoming where 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 away at me," he said.
"I'm a very proud player and captain, and playing for South Africa means a lot for me, and the fact (is) that the results we're dishing out at the moment - you know it's really, really tough."
The team's headline bowler, paceman Kagiso Rabada, said the team felt like they had failed to play to their usual standard on Sunday and throughout the tournament.
"Pakistan turned up, and we didn't," he said. "We're very disappointed. We tried so hard at practices and we spoke about what we needed to do, but unfortunately we just couldn't bring it out into the field of play.
"We come in with a good mindset - it's just execution is one thing that's been a question mark for us."
Du Plessis added that the team had been running low on confidence as their losses piled up and turning that around rested mostly with each individual player.
"Every player must make sure that he comes to the park and gives everything, and if confidence is an issue, you need to sort it out yourself," he said.
Rabada admitted the team had lessons to learn. "We'll definitely be back firing, looking to nail some of the things that we wanted to nail in this tournament," he said.
Pakistan now need to win their remaining three matches and hope that other results go their way for a chance to make the top four.
"We are alive and kicking, without a doubt," said coach Mickey Arthur. "But we've got to win three games."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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