Pakistan condemned South Africa to World Cup elimination and kept alive their own slender chances of advancing to the semi-finals with a 49-run win at Lord’s on Sunday.
Chasing 309 to remain in the hunt for a last four berth, South Africa’s survival bid petered out on 259-9.
Disciplined Pakistan bowling saw Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz take three wickets each as South Africa surrendered without a fight.
Faf du Plessis’s side had already been roughed up by Haris Sohail’s brilliant 59-ball innings of 89 in Pakistan’s 308-7.
South Africa’s fifth defeat in seven World Cup matches confirmed their embarrassingly early exit, with matches against Sri Lanka and Australia still to play.
For just the second time in their history, and the first time since 2003, South Africa have failed to reach the World Cup knockout stages.
The post-mortem into a woeful World Cup campaign will raise pointed questions about the futures of captain Du Plessis and coach Ottis Gibson.
South Africa have been beset by problems on and off the field — starting when AB de Villiers’ late offer to come out of retirement for the World Cup was rejected.
Their campaign got off to the worst possible start when they were thrashed by hosts England in the tournament opener.
Alarm bells were ringing even louder after a dismal defeat to Bangladesh in their second game and by the time India brushed them aside, it was clear South Africa were in turmoil.
An injury that ruled key pace bowler Dale Steyn out of the tournament was another setback.
Their only win to date was against minnows Afghanistan and their mountain of issues proved too much for the uninspired Proteas players to overcome as they slumped to a tame exit.
Pakistan were also playing for their World Cup survival and mustered a far more whole-hearted effort in the must-win clash.
To the delight of their army of fans, who turned Lord’s into a vibrant mass of green, Sarfaraz Ahmed’s side could still make the semi-finals.
Their second win of the tournament gives them life with three matches remaining in the battle to finish in the top four in the 10-team group stage.