Cape Town - It was a case off too little too late as the Proteas beat Sri Lanka with ease on Monday to finish their failed ICC World Twenty20 campaign on a high.
At the end of the dead-rubber in Delhi, the Proteas cantered home to win by 8 wickets in 17.4 overs after having bowled Sri Lanka out for 120.
Kyle Abbott, Aaron Phangiso and Farhaan Behardien finished with two wickets apiece for the Proteas while Dale Steyn recovered from a poor start to finish with figures of 1/33 (4).
Sri Lanka simply never got going and lost wickets at regular intervals.
It was a bowling display that the Proteas would have loved to have seen in their tournament opener against England when they failed to defend 229.
Imran Tahir (1/18 in 4) was superb once more, while David Wiese (0/8 in 1) only had to bowl the one over thanks to Behardien's somewhat surprising impact.
The Proteas got off to a quick start with the bat, but for the second match in a row their charge was halted by an unnecessary run-out.
This time it was Quinton de Kock who was on his way after Hashim Amla had pushed one to point that was never going to be a run.
De Kock had backed up too far at the non-striker's end, and Tillakaratne Dilshan made no mistake in throwing the stumps down.
Faf du Plessis then joined Amla, and the pair put on 60 runs in 67 balls before Du Plessis was unfortunate to be given out LBW for 31 - replays having revealed that there had been some bat before pad.
To the pleasure of the Delhi crowd the next man is was AB de Villiers, and South Africa's superstar had no problem knocking off the required runs with Amla.
The result means that South Africa finish in third in Group 1 while Sri Lanka finish fourth.
Scores in brief:
Sri Lanka 120 all out (Dilshan 36, Abbott 2/14, Behardien 2/15, Phangiso 2/26)
SA 122/2 (Amla 56*, Du Plessis 31, De Villiers 20*)
SA won by 8 wickets with 2.2 over remaining