Birmingham - South Africa will need something special with the ball if they are to beat New Zealand at Edgbaston and keep their 2019 World Cup semi-final hopes alive.
The Black Caps will chase 242 for victory after the Proteas battled their way to 241/6 from their 49 overs after the match had been shortened following a 90-minute delay due to a wet outfield.
It was an innings that never quite got out of the blocks, and the Proteas will feel that they are well short of a par score.
Rassie van der Dussen (67* off 64) top-scored for South Africa, who battled to find any sustained momentum throughout.
There were starts all through the order, but nobody could take the game by the scruff of the neck.
SCOREBOARD: Proteas v New Zealand
The Proteas were asked to bat first, but with no green on the wicket at all and with the sun breaking through the clouds, it seemed a good toss to lose.
The Kiwi openers quickly found their areas, though, and scoring was difficult from the onset.
So much hope was riding on Quinton de Kock, but the Proteas' trump card was back in the hut for just 5 when he played around a beautiful delivery from Trent Boult (1/63 in 10) that swung into him late.
Faf du Plessis (23 off 35) elevated himself to No 3 above Aiden Markram (38 off 55), and together with Hashim Amla (55 off 83) he went about steadying the Proteas ship after the early setback.
Boult and Matt Henry (0/34 in 10), though, were offering very little in the way of width and South Africa's two most senior batsmen had to be patient.
It was a grind, but they shared a 50-run stand that lasted 73 balls before Du Plessis was done by a 92 mph yorker from Lockie Ferguson (3/59 in 10).
The skipper dropped his bat looking to defend, but the pace was too much for him and South Africa found themselves 59/2 after 14 overs.
Markram then joined Amla, but the New Zealand bowlers continued with their disciplined line and length and strangled the South African progress.
Amla brought up his half-century off 75 balls in a knock that was far from his most fluent but necessary given the match situation.
Having wickets in hand looked to be what the Proteas were going for, and they needed Amla to bat deep into the innings.
Instead, the 36-year-old missed a routine Mitch Santner (1/45 in 9) delivery that didn't do much.
It was the end of a 52-run stand between Amla and Markram and, once again, the Proteas had lost a wicket at a crucial time when they had two set batsmen.
Markram was the man who decided to take the game to the bowlers, and he was extremely lucky to survive when Boult, on the fine leg fence, dropped a sitter of a catch off the bowling of Colin de Grandhomme (1/33 in 10).
Markram was 30* at the time and he could only add another eight runs to his total before he danced down the track to De Grandhomme only to miscue to Colin Munro at sweeper.
At 136/4 in 32.3 overs, South Africa would have been looking at something around the 280 mark, but as the innings progressed that target began to look more and more out of reach.
Van der Dussen and David Miller (36 off 37) looked to get things moving, but they just couldn't find the fence and it made for some frustrating periods for the sizeable South African crowd in the Edgbaston stands.
When the pair had brought up their 50 partnership off 63 deliveries in the 43rd over, they had hit no fours with a solitary Van der Dussen six of Santner their only boundary.
Miller eventually started finding some range with a couple of clean hits to the fence, but he was caught by Boult at third man off Ferguson trying to get underneath a short delivery.
Andile Phehlukwayo (0 off 5) had a swing at everything without connecting anything before he was caught at mid-off to become Ferguson's third victim.
In a World Cup clash with everything riding on it, it just wasn't a good enough batting performance from the Proteas.