Cape Town - A heart-breaking loss against New Zealand in the semi-finals of the 2015 Cricket World Cup may be the last World Cup experience for several star players of the current Proteas squad.
Tournament co-hosts, New Zealand, defeated South Africa by four wickets and with one ball to spare to advance to their first ever final of the Cricket World Cup and in the process may have ended the hopes of many South African players of ever winning the showpiece event.
Imran Tahir is the only current player in the World Cup squad that is over the age of 34 but in four years time, eight players (excluding the spin bowler) will be over that age by the time the 2019 Cricket World Cup gets underway in the UK.
It will worry fans of the national team that included in the eight are star players such as key batsmen AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Faf Du Plessis, JP Duminy and two quick bowlers and stalwarts of the side - Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn. Fringe 2015 squad members that will be over 34 in 2019 are spinner Aaron Phangiso and batsman Farhaan Behardien.
Kyle Abbott is currently 27-years-old and Vernon Philander is 29-years-old - it is unlikely that both players will still be playing ODI cricket in four years time but at least one of the bowling should be at the next World Cup
Looking back at the 2011 Cricket World Cup for some context at just how difficult it is to continue playing the game at the highest level for such a period of time.
The following interesting points stand out from the 2011 squad:
1. Graeme Smith was 30 at the last event and retired from international duty some time before the 2015 event.
2. Only eight players managed to make both 15 man squads for the 2011 and 2015 events. They were Amla, De Villiers, Du Plessis, Duminy, Steyn, Morkel, Tahir and Wayne Parnell.
3. Jacques Kallis was the oldest player in the 2011 squad at 35 years old.
4. Kallis was the only player over 34 to make the 2011 squad.
While the defeat to New Zealand is sure to leave it's imprint on the current crop of players that narrowly lost out on a place in the 2015 Cricket World Cup final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, it may also have ended any chances of returning to play in another Cricket World Cup.
And all at the hands of a South African-born Kiwi...
Follow Sport24's Wade Pretorius on Twitter: @wadepretorius