Auckland - Distraught Proteas captain AB de Villiers has laid the blame for the World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand on a string of costly errors led by his own failure to run out Corey Anderson.
Anderson was on 33 at the time and scored a further 25 in a 103-run partnership with match-winner Grant Elliott.
Elliott clouted a colossal six off the second-to-last ball of the game to get New Zealand home by four wickets as they reeled in a 298-run target, revised under the Duckworth/Lewis method in the rain-affected game.
South Africa, batting first, made 281-5 after the match was reduced to 43 overs a side following a two-hour rain interruption.
De Villiers, who proclaimed before the semi-final that South Africa would go on to win the Cup, believed it was a defendable target and his team had paid a high price for their own errors.
"We had our chances especially in the second half of the game and we didn't take them so it's difficult to say what kind of emotions I'm feeling. It's obviously painful," said the captain, who had made an undefeated 65 when his team batted.
"There were lots of people back home supporting us. It hurts to think of all of them. We wanted so badly wanted to take that trophy back home."
De Villiers had a chance to break the Elliott-Anderson partnership with a run out when, with Anderson nowhere near the crease, he dropped the ball and removed the bails with his hand.
"I tried my best to catch it but I didn't. Life moves on. I didn't take that unfortunately, but yes if you want to see it that way that I cost us then I'll gladly take it."
De Villiers said it was no consolation in knowing he had taken part in a classic match.
"We play to win games of cricket to take glory home and make a difference in our nation's heart and hope, and we didn't do that. It hurts quite a bit. Gutted. We had our chances and didn't take them."
In the final over, the plan was for Dale Steyn to try to lure Elliott into thinking the last two balls would be yorkers but instead they would be length balls.
"We were hoping he would play and miss but he played one of the best shots of his life. Probably the best."
De Villiers ruled out using the rain as an excuse, despite South Africa losing seven overs when they had set themselves up for a big charge at the end of their innings.
"We had opportunities to adjust and we did and I felt it was enough. The chances we had in the second innings showed that it was enough," he said.
"So I don't think it played a big role in the game.
"We always talk about expecting the unexpected, and the unexpected happened today, and we adjusted as well as we could, and it wasn't good enough at the end."