Kimberley - AB de Villiers said lost opportunities cost them the game after the Proteas suffered their first defeat in the one-day international (ODI) series against Sri Lanka in Kimberley on Friday.
"I knew it was coming somewhere along the line," said the visibly exhausted captain after his team went down by five wickets in the fourth ODI - the most exciting encounter of the series so far.
"I truly thought we could have and should have won this game but it didn’t happen that way.
"In close games like this, you need to take your opportunities to win games."
Batting first, the Proteas raced to 199 for three after 30 overs, and going by the popular theory to double the score after 30 overs, a massive total was predicted.
However, it was not to be as South Africa made 299 in their 50 overs, thanks to some improved bowling and fielding by the Sri Lankans and a couple of mistakes by the Proteas.
"We went wrong in quite a few areas," admitted De Villiers who thought his team should have made a total of at least, 330.
"I got out at a very bad stage as we needed a partnership there, so I take responsibility for that.
"We weren’t too great in the field and although we created a few run-out chances and a few catches, we didn’t take them."
In fact, towards the end of the game, fielding errors became too numerous to mention.
Several catches were put down, a couple of them simple enough as with some of the blunders when throwing at the stumps.
"The bowlers did really well but I got a few tactical errors wrong towards the end," said De Villiers who seemed to shoulder all the blame.
"I probably bowled the wrong bowlers at the wrong times but that’s where you learn and I’ll get better next time around."
The Sri Lankans also started their innings at a cracking pace but lost big wickets at crucial times.
However, their youngsters were up to the task as Dinesh Chandimal made his second half-century of the ODI series and fourth on the tour.
Thisara Perera took his team across the line, with eight balls to spare.
De Villiers said they tried every trick in the book to get Perera out but nothing worked for them.
"We had guys on the boundary and I thought maybe the spinner could get us one," he said.
"We tried pace bowling on a very slow wicket. We tried to bounce him but the ball wouldn’t come up. We tried slower balls but it was one of those tracks where it was just not easy to get wickets.
"If you get your chances you have to take them and we didn’t do that so we have to get better next time around."
On the bright side for the Proteas, Graeme Smith showed some form as he struck 69 runs off 68 balls, with De Villiers saying he always had faith in his predecessor.
"I told you guys it was around the corner for Graeme," said De Villiers.
"Hopefully he makes it happen now and maximises the good form he’s started to show.
"I’m expecting more runs from him as he’s looking much better out there. He played really well today(Friday) and I’m happy he’s back."