Sydney - Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith fears the Proteas' hopes of a maiden World Cup title could be thwarted by the team's inability to chase down targets.
Their latest flop batting second came at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday when they lost by 29 runs to Pakistan in pursuit of just 232.
They had also been bowled out for a paltry 177 when trying to catch India's 307-7 in Melbourne earlier in the tournament.
However, batting first, AB de Villiers side had piled up 339-4 against Zimbabwe, 408-5 when they took on the West Indies and 411-4 facing Ireland -- three matches they won.
Writing in his ICC column on Sunday, Smith said he was concerned by the Proteas' record when chasing targets.
"South Africa's win-loss record, when chasing 240 or more since the last World Cup, is 3-10 whilst they only have a 39 percent win percentage when chasing in one-day internationals since January 2013," wrote Smith.
"On the contrary, when batting first, South Africa has a 24-8 win-loss record, which is the best among all Test playing nations during the same period.
"If one were to examine this issue more closely it would also become apparent that in every game in which the Proteas have been knocked out of a World Cup since 1992, they batted second with the exception of the semi-final loss to Australia in 2007."
Smith said he feared that potential opponents in the knockout stages will exploit South Africa's nervousness to extend their record of never having made a World Cup final.
"They have a lot more work to do in very little time.
"Even with one pool game to go their attention would have shifted to the likely quarter-final opponents of either Sri Lanka or Australia who would definitely have noted that their chasing travails continued. "