Johannesburg - Despite falling to a comprehensive 4-1 ODI series defeat against Australia on Sunday, the Proteas' captain AB de Villiers believes his team will be favourites for the World Cup.
"Playing in their home country, they will be one of the favourites, but I still believe we're the better team, and we will be the team to beat at the World Cup," he said on Monday on the team's arrival in Johannesburg.
South Africa managed just the one win in the series against Australia, chasing a moderate score of 155 to win in the second One Day International.
However, De Villiers said the matches against the World Cup co-hosts were closer than the series scoreline suggested.
"There's absolutely no doubt in my mind we're the better team," he said.
"We didn't play the big moments as well as we wanted to. I really believe we could've beaten them 4-1 on another day, but it's easy to say that now."
De Villiers was the top run-scorer in the series with 274 runs at an average of 67.75, but said he was disappointed he was unable to help his side in winning.
"I obviously scored some runs in this series but I've never really been a guy to look at that side of things.
"I'm quite hard on myself when it comes to finishing off games and winning games for the team, which I didn't do in this series.
"I got out at some crucial times during the series, so did all the batters around me. We didn't have a great series with the bat."
Proteas' coach Russell Domingo echoed the sentiments of his captain when it came to his assessment of the tussle with the Aussies.
"It was a tough tour and the scoreline margin was not a true reflection on the closeness of series," Domingo said.
"For long periods of time we competed and had opportunities to win more than one game, but obviously we're disappointed with the final result.
"We know there's a lot of hard work that lies ahead before we head back to Australian shores in the next three months."
In their tour of Australasia, South Africa lost the T20 series against Australia 2-1 after they beat World Cup co-hosts New Zealand 2-0 in an ODI series in October.
"Going to play that series before the World Cup was a big benefit," Domingo said.
"A lot of our players haven't played under those conditions. It was a big plus that we were able to get some game time there."
The Proteas were left dealing with six injuries after the tour, with De Villiers needing a three-week recovery period for a cracked rib on his right side.
Imran Tahir was still managing a left hamstring strain and would still need another week before returning to action.
Faf du Plessis would be rested -- as he continued to battle a chronic left hip problem -- to make sure he is available for the Proteas for the first Test against the West Indies on December 17 in Centurion.
Aaron Phangiso would be out for another week with a left-hand finger injury, while JP Duminy (left knee) was undergoing rehabilitation.
The Proteas would announce their World Cup squad on January 7 after the three-Test series against the West Indies.