Having taken just six wickets in seven games at an average of 50.83, Kagiso Rabada has been far from the spearhead South Africa had expected him to be at the World Cup. The fast bowler has admitted that his performances at the tournament have only been "okay".
"These [World Cups] are the tournaments you really want to stand out in… In this tournament I would have like to have done better," Rabada told reporters on Sunday, after South Africa's exit-confirming loss to Pakistan at Lord's. "I have just done okay. I think there have been times where we have been really unlucky, and some times where we have kind of let ourselves down."
Rabada, who is playing in his first World Cup, said he would not call the early exit the lowest point in his career, which began in the aftermath of South Africa's heart-breaking semi-final defeat in the 2015 World Cup. "I wouldn't say it was the lowest point in my career - this is what comes with the game. All of us, we don't go to a game looking to lose. We go to a game prepared. We try to prepare, we do our analysis, and we come in with a good mindset."
He however cited his own case in failing to bridge the gap between planning and on-field performance.
"Execution is just one thing that you know that has been a question mark for us, and especially for myself at times," he said. "And you can't just do okay."
Rabada said he had at times tried to "take it it upon myself to really stand up. I thought I played just okay. I don't think it's the lowest point. The next time this happens, it's a challenge really to come out on top."
In comparison to his captain Faf du Plessis, whose media briefing was marked by the heaviness of his team's failure, Rabada's response to the defeat against Pakiatan reflected his relatively baggage-free World Cup experience and the fact that he was not the man carrying the load of the team's leader.
Of the match against Pakistan he said, "I think Pakistan turned up and we didn't." South Africa's bowlers, he added, had slipped up at key moments in the match. "I think we knew we had them in the field and we let it slip and then they outbowled us. They got our batsmen out."
According to Rabada, the fourth-wicket partnership between Babar Azam and Man of the Match Haris Sohail - 81 in 11.2 overs - was "where they really got momentum with their batting, and I think their bowlers really bowled well to restrict our batters, so I think we were just outplayed, simple as that."
The defeat was to give to Rabada "plenty of learnings and that's how we play this game. It's not easy."
He then spoke not as a philosophical young man dealing with defeat but a young cricketer grappling with the lessons he had been given by the game. "As much as you want to be at the top. you'll never find it smooth sailing. It's extremely tough. When you are playing out there you experience all of this. And all these feelings, highs and lows, and that's what comes with it."
South Africa's last two World Cup group matches, dead rubbers as far as they are concerned, are spread over the next ten days, the first against Sri Lanka in Chester-le-Street on Friday, June 28, and then Australia in Manchester on July 6.
So while Rabada did say that "the key is to bounce back and plan forward and stay positive", he will find the empty time on his hands far tougher to deal with than he realised today. Just ask du Plessis.