- South Africa's World Cup qualification path is in tatters after their embarrassing nine-wicket loss to Bangladesh at SuperSport Park on Wednesday.
- South Africa remains ninth on the log and a trip to Zimbabwe to play in the qualifiers next year is becoming a distinct reality.
- Bangladesh won its first ODI series in SA and became the third Asian country to do so since 2013.
South Africa's automatic path to the 2023 Cricket World Cup hasn't just hit an obstacle, but has firmly run aground after their nine-wicket loss to Bangladesh in the third ODI at SuperSport Park on Wednesday.
History will record that Bangladesh has become the third Asian team behind Pakistan and India to win an ODI series in SA and they were deserving.
They reached their target with 141 balls to spare and in that process, given SA their biggest defeat against an Asian team at home.
They played the better cricket in the two matches they won, with Taskin Ahmed's 5/35 and Tamim Iqbal's 87* being the points of difference in a game the visitors dominated from the seventh over onwards.
However, the biggest concern will be South Africa's position in the ICC World Cup Super League log, where they're placed ninth on the log with 49 points.
South Africa has Super League engagements against Australia, England, India, and the Netherlands left, but it's up to anyone's imagination now to see whether they'll get any points from those engagements if they can be judged on their poor showing against Bangladesh.
Should they fail to get into the top eight, they'll have to deal with the ignominy of having to take part in the World Cup qualifiers where the bottom five teams in the Super League will have to face three teams from League two (currently Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Scotland) and one each from Challenger League A (Canada) and League B (Uganda) to contest the two remaining World Cup spots.
That path shows the dispiriting low the Proteas have slipped to, especially in ODI cricket where they have yet to win a series in the ODI Super League.
They have lost seven of their 13 matches and they don't look like they'll add to their four wins. That they fluffed their lines against Sri Lanka and Ireland should have served as warnings, but with this performance, they went unheeded.
South Africa has problems across all departments and with Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Rassie van der Dussen and Marco Jansen all departing for the Indian Premier League, Russell Domingo's charges will fancy their chances in the Test series that starts next week Thursday in Durban.
From an ODI series perspective, the rubber die was cast once the Proteas were bundled out for a measly 154 in 37 overs.
It was a mixture of careless batting and excellent bowling that accelerated their demise as they slipped to a seventh loss in their last 10 matches against Asian opposition at SuperSport Park,
No SA batter got to 50, with Janneman Malan's 39 being the top score as the top order floundered against Taskin Ahmed's pace and hostility.
Iqbal, a scarred veteran of previous South African encounters, ensured the indignities that SA have generally visited on his team would be sent back in kind.
His rollicking 82-ball knock saw him hit four fours off a Kagiso Rabada over that effectively raised the white flag for the hosts.
Liton Das, a player who is the future for the Tigers, contributed a far more sedate 48 off 57 balls that also included a life when Keshav Maharaj dropped him in the first over.
That it was left to Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim to finish the job was fitting. This is no longer the Bangladesh side of 20 years ago that would just roll over and die.
They flame-grilled South Africa and in the process, left the hosts with plenty of thinking to do with regards to World Cup qualification.
With 120 points from their 17 games, Iqbal's charges are home and hosed while the Proteas are up the creek without a paddle.
Scores in brief:
SA: 154 (Janneman Malan 39, Keshav Maharaj 28, Dwaine Pretorius 20, Taskin Ahmed 5/35, Shakib Al Hasan 2/24, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 1/27)
Bangladesh: 156/1 (Tamim Iqbal 87*, Liton Das 48)
Bangladesh won by nine wickets