The Proteas don’t look like a world number one side.
Lose to India this Sunday and Pakistan beat Sri Lanka, then they will be on their way home early from another ICC tournament after Wednesday night’s shocking defeat to Mickey Arthur’s Pakistan.
While a failure would be true to form, mense will be kwaad.
And AB de Villiers is going to have to shoulder the blame.
The skipper is out of form.
Still ranked the top batsman in the ODI format, he has not come to the party yet.
Just four runs in the tournament and his first-ever golden duck in the 50-over game follows an IPL campaign that set off alarm bells for fans.
His Royal Challengers Bangalore performances were his worst return in the spectacle.
Coming back from elbow surgery probably goes a long way to explaining why he is horribly short of what we have come to expect from him.
He has only made a fifty once in his last five ODIs and averages just under 16 for the year.
But the case of AB has been borreling for a while now.
His slump in form comes at a time when this bra’s commitment to the cause is seriously questioned.
The 33-year-old has been accused of picking his games after taking a break from Test cricket.
Since signing up to a R10m-a-year deal with Indian sponsor MRF, AB hardly has to honour his commitments to Cricket SA.
And it seems he has taken his eye off the ball when it comes to the game, having fallen with his gat in the botter.
There is also the strange pre-match habit where he talks down his opponents.
Ahead of the Pakistan game, he was min gespin about the Asians’ turners, calling them “part-timers”.
But AB was the one in a spin after going out first ball, playing too early at a Mohammed Hafeez delivery.
It was the seventh time he fell to a tweaker this year.
Personally, AB has been working on my gat lately. Especially with his account of the Vernon Philander 2015 World Cup semifinal scandal.
He said that he was unhappy about it, that there had been political meddling, even after admitting the team policy was to bring back “incumbent” Vern instead of playing Kyle Abbott.
If they were recalling a top-class bowler for a high-stakes game, as skipper you should be happy about it and found space for Abbott too.
So if the issue wasn’t about Vernon coming back and Abbott was in form, another player could have been sacrificed.
Throwing Vern under the bus and playing the anti-transformation card was disappointing. It left a bitter taste in my mouth.
Maybe it’s a combination of these things is the reason why the team doesn’t seem to play for him the way they do for Faf du Plessis.