The Hague - A Justin Reid-Ross hat-trick within five minutes has ensured South Africa consigned Malaysia to 12th and last place at the Hockey World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands on Thursday.
South Africa won 6-2 after trailing 1-0 at half-time, the goals going to Reid-Ross, Lloyd Norris-Jones, captain Austin Smith and Pierre de Voux.
A Firhan Ashari goal in the first half and a superb Shahrun Abdulla shot 49 seconds from the final whistle made up Malaysia's numbers.
Reid-Ross sent the ball flying past hapless Malaysia goalkeeper Kumar Subramiam from the penalty spot in the 43rd minute.
Two minutes later he delivered a fearsome drag-flick to the back of the box before nailing down another penalty corner in the 48th minute.
South Africa's fourth goal was scored by fleet-footed striker Norris-Jones, who took advantage of Smith's slide-rule through pass.
He broke into the 23-metre area before entering the strike zone and smashing the ball past an advancing Subramiam.
The numerous penalty corners the South African strikers were able to win in the second half reflected the pressure the front-runners put the Malaysian defence under after the changeover.
Smith nailed down a superb penalty corner drag-flick goal in the 64th minute, while striker Pierre de Voux completed the rout one minute from the final whistle.
Yet the first half reflected much of South Africa's woes in their Group matches, the lack of cohesion largely due to just two weeks together.
Rassie Pieterse in the goals was instrumental in keeping South Africa in the game when things were not going their way.
There was little he could do in the 26th minute when Malaysia forward Firhan Ashari exhibited excellent close control to evade defenders in the strike zone and slip the ball past the keeper (1-0).
With five minutes to the break, Fitri Saari forced a penalty corner and Pieterse was on hand to make an acrobatic stick-save out to his right.
Defender Rhett Halkett also had a good game, while South African midfielder and vice-captain Wade Paton drew praise from coach Fabian Gregory for soldiering on during the tournament despite a debilitating injury.
Meanwhile, the South Africa women's hockey team meet an old foe when they take on Japan in the playoff for ninth place on Friday.
The Japanese women edged South Africa in the equivalent match at the London 2012 Olympic Games.