Southampton - In what is an undisputed time of crisis, the Proteas are looking to their most experienced and accomplished players to put things right. 

Three straight losses at the World Cup have left the South Africans fighting for their lives despite the tournament being just over a week old, and Monday's clash against the West Indies at the Rose Bowl in Southampton has effectively become do-or-die. 

For South Africa to reach their target of six wins in the pool stages, they must win every match remaining. 

On some level, it is knockout cricket from now on. 

While there were signs of improvement in Wednesday's six-wicket loss to India, particularly with the ball, the inability of the top order to convert starts into match-changing scores has quickly become a problem. 

Quinton de Kock (68 v England) and Faf du Plessis (62 v Bangladesh) have threatened to go big at different times, but it just hasn't quite clicked for them yet. 

Another man who the Proteas are desperate to get the best out of is Hashim Amla. 

One of the most respected and pedigreed players of his generation in red and white ball cricket, Amla is trying to find the form that earned him that reputation. 

Now 36, there has been concern for a while now that Amla has slipped from his once impenetrable heights. 

He was no certainty to even make the World Cup squad, with many back home believing that Reeza Hendricks should have been the man taken to England. 

The worry is that Amla is not quite reacting as quickly as he once did, and that as a result he will always struggle against express pace. 

Against England in the tournament opener, Amla was on the receiving end of a sickening Jofra Archer blow to the grille of his helmet that saw him leave the field when he was on just 5*. 

Amla was incredibly late on the shot, bit the ball was so venomous that it could have troubled anyone in world cricket. 

Amla returned to the field when the game was already beyond the Proteas' reach and was eventually out for 13, but the symptoms he suffered after the blow saw him ruled out for game two against Bangladesh at The Oval, which South Africa also lost. 

Fully recovered, Amla returned for the clash against India on Wednesday but was out for just 6 to another quick, Jasprit Bumrah, when he got caught on the cerase and edged to slip. 

Now, with South Africa's future at the tournament in the balance, Amla must take on a West Indian attack that is building itself around its pace attack. 

In Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell and Andre Russell, the Windies have three bowlers who have genuine pace, while seamers Jason Holder and Carlos Brathwaite are also expected to play and can be dangerous too. 

"It's important for a lot of us in the team to click into things and Hash is an important figure. Everybody knows that. He knows that," Kagiso Rabada said of Amla on Sunday.

"So we do rely on him, just as we rely on everyone in the team. But I guess you could say we rely on him more.

"I don't think it's extra pressure for him. I think he copes with it. He's got a sound mind ... he's a balanced individual. I think he knows what he has to do."

It is clear that Amla has been putting in the work. 

He put in another long net session at training on Sunday, looking comfortable as he faced the Proteas quicks in Rabada and Beuran Hendricks.

"As a teammate, we are there to support him," Rabada said.

"We know that he can produce magic out there on the field and he's been showing signs of it in the warm-up games and we are really hopeful that he can come off.

"We are working hard. We are working in the nets. We are planning. We are doing everything that we can in our power and he's doing everything he can."

Play on Monday starts at 11:30 (SA time), but the weather forecast does suggest that there is a chance of rain throughout the day. 

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