- The Proteas were beaten for the first time at the Cricket World Cup on Tuesday.
- Australia remain the side to beat at the competition.
- Vice-captain Chloe Tryon said Tuesday's result is "not the end of the world".
Tuesday's World Cup clash against Australia in Wellington was an important one for the Proteas to see precisely where they are compared to the tournament favourites.
Both sides entered the contest as the only undefeated sides left in the competition, but Meg Lanning's superb 135* (130) was ultimately the difference as Australia cruised home to a five-wicket win with over four overs to spare.
It was extremely comfortable for the Aussies, and the Proteas must now shift their attention to West Indies and India in their efforts to first secure playoff qualification and, second, avoid Australia in the semi-finals.
There were, however, still positives for the Proteas, and their 271/5 having been asked to bat first would have left them feeling optimistic heading into the innings break.
Speaking after the match, Proteas vice-captain Chloe Tryon was clear that the side's bowling and fielding let them down, adding that it was "not the end of the world" to lose in the round-robin stages of the competition.
"Australia is a quality side, and we can't take that away from them," said Tryon.
"They're the No 1-ranked team in the world for a reason.
"We needed to be at our best in the second half, and we weren't. I felt we could have done better in the field. There were too many dropped catches and bowling on two sides of the wicket. It would have been a really different story if we kept to the stumps and put a lot of pressure on them."
Tryon believes that the gap between the sides is not insurmountable for the Proteas, and she knows that they knock over any side in world cricket on their day.
"I don't think the gap is too big. We've worked really hard, and we'll just have to bounce back after today," she said.
"We've always thrived on our bowling as a unit, so to display that, we weren't happy with it.
"It's not the end of the world. We'll just have to reflect on this and make sure we bounce back."
Laura Wolvaardt, meanwhile, carded her fourth successive half-century of the competition with a knock of 90 (134), while this was also comfortably South Africa's best batting display in New Zealand as Sune Luus (52 off 51) also continued her good form.
"We couldn't have asked for a better start with the bat," said Tryon.
"We were happy with 270-plus. It's good to see the girls taking responsibility as batters and getting to that score. We want to score that consistently, and we really ticked that box," said Tryon.
"I thought Marizanne [Kapp] and [Shabnim] Ismail bowled really well, but I felt that as bowlers we didn't back them up in the middle overs. There were too many loose balls and it's really hard to set fields for that.
"We got Meg Lanning going, and once she gets going, it is difficult to stop her."