Southampton — South Africa can still qualify for the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup, but even if they win their remaining five group stage fixtures, it might not be enough.
That is the harsh reality that comes with being winless after four matches, and the Proteas were given their first and only log point after Monday’s washed out fixture against the West Indies at the Rose Bowl.
It seems ridiculous to try and calculate qualification permutations this early into the tournament — India have still only played two matches — but things have become that desperate in South Africa’s case.
There are still 30 pool matches to be played, so anything can happen and there are several scenarios that see South Africa qualify.
There are also a few, however, that see them miss out even if they win from here to the end of the group stages to finish on 11 log points.
For Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis, though, it is too early to look that far ahead.
Instead, the skipper wants his side to start producing the goods on the field and then the results and log points will follow.
“It is too far away,” he told media from the Rose Bowl on Monday. Right now for us we need to focus on our performance.
“If we can get our performance sorted out, our skills and our confidence back up where it needs to be and we can start getting on a roll of two or three games, you can only really look at those things when it comes to the last week of the tournament.”
Du Plessis did hint that South Africa’s best chance at sneaking into the semi-finals might come if a couple of teams ran away with it at the top of the log, leaving a scrap for the last one or two qualification spots.
“Naturally, when you are in a tournament like this I suppose you, us as the team at the bottom part of the log want the top team to keep winning to make sure there is a little bit of a breathing room for the other two or three teams, so you keep an eye on other results maybe in that aspect,” he said.
“But it’s obviously really out of our control.”
The Proteas will be expecting to get their first win of the tournament when they take on Afghanistan in Cardiff on Saturday.