Lord's - Few know the pressures that come with a South African Cricket World Cup campaign better than Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur.

The 51-year-old served as Proteas coach from 2005 to 2010, taking the national side to the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies. 

A semi-final defeat to Australia ended South Africa's tournament that year and Arthur and the players came in for heavy criticism following that match, which saw the Proteas post their lowest ever total at a World Cup when they were steamrolled for 149. 

Now, 12 years later, the Proteas would have done anything for a semi-final berth. 

Instead, they have produced their worst-ever performance at a World Cup, losing to all of England, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand and Arthur's Pakistan. 

Their only success at the tournament so far is a nine-wicket win against lowly Afghanistan in Cardiff. 

After Sunday's loss to Pakistan at Lord's, the Proteas became the second nation after Afghanistan to be officially eliminated from the World Cup. 

Things have reached rock bottom, and Arthur sympathises with the players.

"I watch South Africa with a real fondness," he told media in a refreshingly open and honest press conference after the match at Lord's.

"South Africa are my second team without a doubt, and it is sad for me. It's sad.

"It's a team that's just a little bit short on confidence. Every team goes through that.

"I think now is a time to just try and get behind those boys. They are trying incredibly hard. I know what they are going through. It's tough. It's really tough where they are."

Arthur said he had chatted to current Proteas coach Ottis Gibson after Sunday's match, and he explained how quickly things could deteriorate for a national team of South Africa's magnitude when results do not go well.

"It happens so quickly," he said.

"You lose a game; you lose another game; it's a World Cup; media scrutiny; public expectation, and then you almost go into sort of survival mode. We've all been there.

"They need KG (Rabada) to run in and knock over three with the new ball early, or Quinny (De Kock) to go in and get a quick 50 just to get it going, and then they will feed off that and that will turn around very, very quickly.

"We always say, you're only one performance away. You're either a hero or a villain and it only takes one performance to get back to where you need to be.

"I'm confident that they can because there's a hell of a lot of talent in that dressing room."

Pakistan have three fixtures remaining against New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh while the Proteas have dead rubbers against Sri Lanka and Australia to come.

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ...