Opening defeats to England, Bangladesh and India, and a washout with the West Indies, have left South Africa needing to win their five remaining games to have any prospect of making the semifinals at the Cricket World Cup.
South Africa face Afghanistan — the only side below them in the 10-team table — in Cardiff on Saturday. "We've got to win the five games," du Plessis says. "We just haven't unlocked the potential that we do have in our side."
Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi could return to the Proteas attack after missing the last two games with a tight hamstring. A final decision will likely be made Saturday morning.
The sun appeared after a week of gloom and shined on England, giving the World Cup hosts perfect batting conditions to chase down a meager West Indies target and clinch an eight-wicket with almost 17 overs to spare.
Joe Root was able to get on the front foot to nullify any threat of an expected barrage from the West Indies pace attack and scored an unbeaten century to guide England to 213-2 in reply to 212.
Root also took two wickets — both caught-and-bowled — and Barbados-born Jofra Archer took 3-30 after England skipper Eoin Morgan won the toss and gave his bowlers advantage of the early cold, overcast conditions by sending West Indies in to bat.
For a change there were no rain interruptions after bad weather that plagued the tournament earlier in the week, causing two games to be abandoned without a ball bowled and the West Indies' match against South Africa to be washed out after 7.3 overs.
While the weather report was OK, the news wasn't entirely good for England. Morgan hobbled off in the 40th over after experiencing muscle spasms in his back. And big-hitting opener Jason Roy strained his left hamstring while fielding in the eighth over and didn't re-enter the game.
Root scored his second hundred, passing 50 for the third time in the tournament, to become the leading scorer in the World Cup so far. He was unbeaten on 100 from 94 balls and shared a 95-run opening stand with Jonny Bairstow (45) and 104 for the second wicket with Chris Woakes, who scored 40 batting up the order.
Australia captain Aaron Finch says the weather has been unkind to Sri Lanka at the World Cup.
"It's not ideal, is it, when rain plays a big part in a tournament like this," Finch said on the eve of Australia's group game against Sri Lanka at the Oval. "I think Sri Lanka have been unlucky with a couple of games they have had washed out."
Sri Lanka has been the worst-affected team of this rain-hit World Cup, as its games against Pakistan and Bangladesh in Bristol were abandoned without a ball bowled. Yet, the two points from those washouts, plus the win from its last appearance on June 4 against Afghanistan, have Sri Lanka still in the top half of the standings. Sri Lanka lost to New Zealand by 10 wickets in its opener in Cardiff.
Finch says he won't be underestimating his opponents, the 1996 World Cup champions.
"You look down their side, and there's a lot of experience there. There's a lot of world-class players. You can never take any team in this competition lightly," Finch says.
Defending champion Australia, which has three wins and one loss, is getting into a groove of its own.
"We just play, travel, play, travel, which gives you a good opportunity just to keep the flow going and we get an extra day between this and the next game, and then it slows down a little bit toward the back end of the tournament," Finch says.
Joe Root has passed 50 for the third time in the tournament and England is coasting at 138-1 after 20 overs as it chases 213 to beat West Indies.
Root posted a run-a-ball half century containing seven boundaries and was unbeaten on 68 after 20 overs. He was batting with Chris Woakes, who was on 16.
Root and Jonny Bairstow shared a 95-run opening stand in glorious sunlight after a week of rain across England that caused two World Cup games to be abandoned without a ball bowled and another called off after 7.3 overs.
Bairstow was out for 45 in the 15th over when he was caught at third man off Shannon Gabriel's bowling.
Root, who scored 51, 107 and 21 in his previous three innings, is England's leading scorer at the tournament.
West Indies stacked its attack with pace bowlers but the quicks had limited success in conditions that became ideal for batting in the second innings after a cold, overcast start to the game.
England lost two fielders and dropped two outfield catches yet managed to dismiss the West Indies for 212 in 44.4 overs on Friday in cold, overcast conditions at the Cricket World Cup.
Joe Root picked up his first two wickets in one-day international cricket since January 2018, both caught-and-bowled, and Barbados-born paceman Jofra Archer (3-30) picked up his first wickets against West Indies.
Archer was expensive in his opening spell against Chris Gayle (36) but had a chance for a hat trick in his second, picking up his first wicket on a referral to the TV umpire when Nicholas Pooran (63) got a fine edge off his glove to England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
Archer trapped Sheldon Cottrell lbw on the next delivery and later got his third when he had Carlos Brathwaite (14) caught behind with a ball that brushed the batsman's shoulder.
Mark Wood (3-18) finished off the innings when he bowled Shannon Gabriel with a yorker as the last four West Indies wickets fell for 10 runs.
England captain Eoin Morgan limped off the field with back muscle spasms in the 40th over, when West Indies was 202-6 and Archer hadn't taken a wicket.
Making matters worse for England, Morgan was the second batsman to hobble off the field in the first innings. Big-hitting opener Jason Roy strained his left hamstring in the eighth over and didn't return to the field. Roy wasn't allowed to bat any higher than No. 7 as England chased 213 to win.
The two dropped outfield catches weren't too damaging for England. Gayle was on 15 when Wood dropped him in the outfield. Gayle went on to set the career record for most runs in ODIs between West Indies and England before he was finally caught on the boundary for 36.
Andre Russell was on three when he was dropped in the outfield by Chris Woakes. He clubbed a pair of sixes in the same over from Adil Rashid but was eventually out for 21, caught by Woakes off Woods' bowling.
England captain Eoin Morgan has limped off the field with an apparent leg injury in the 40th over of the World Cup group game against the West Indies.
It wasn't clear how Morgan injured himself but he joined opening batsman Jason Roy in getting treatment in the pavilion.
West Indies was 202-6 at the time.
Jason Roy won't return to field during the West Indies innings and will have to bat down the order for England after straining his left hamstring in the World Cup group game at Hampshire's Rose Bowl.
Roy, a big-hitting opening batsman, pulled up as he attempted to field a ball in the eighth over. He slowly walked from the field and was treated for tightness in his upper left leg.
The England team issued an update saying Roy wouldn't field again on Friday and would not be allowed to bat above No. 7.
Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer have shared a 63-run partnership to lift West Indies to 118-3 halfway through its allotted 50 overs in the Cricket World Cup group game against England.
Top-ranked England won the toss and sent West Indies in to bat in cold, overcast conditions, removing opener Evin Lewis in the third over with the total at 4.
Chris Gayle and Shai Hope shared a 50-run second-wicket stand before both lost their wickets within three balls as West Indies slumped to 55-3 in the 14th over. Gayle surpassed Viv Richards as the leading scorer in one-day international cricket games between West Indies and England before he was caught in the outfield off Liam Plunkett's bowling for 36.
Mark Wood, who dropped Gayle on 15, had Hope (11) out leg before wicket on review after the on-field umpire had given the West Indies batsman not out.
Pooran was unbeaten on 36 and Hetmyer was 23 not out when West Indies hit the 25-over mark.
Chris Gayle has had a slow start, been dropped in the outfield, and hit Chris Woakes for a boundary in an eventful innings before becoming the leading run-scorer ever in one-day internationals between West Indies and England.
Gayle was unbeaten on 33 from 29 balls as West Indies reached 41-1 after 10 overs in the Cricket World Cup group game at Hampshire's Rose Bowl.
He started the game with 1,596 career runs in ODIs against England and surpassed Viv Richards' previous record of 1,619 when he drove Woakes down the ground. Just for good measure, he drove the next ball over long-on for six.
Woakes started well, troubling Gayle and taking the wicket of Evin Lewis bowled for 2.
Gayle was on 15 when he skied a Woakes ball down to third man, where Mark Wood grabbed the ball in both hands but dropped it when his elbows hit the ground.
Compounding England's concerns, opener Jason Roy left the field soon after with a leg injury after attempting to cut off a single.
Gayle wasn't timing the ball well but was still scoring, particularly against Barbados-born Jofra Archer, who had 0-25 in his first five overs.
England skipper Eoin Morgan has won the toss and sent West Indies in to bat in a Cricket World Cup group game expected to start on time after a spate of rain interruptions or washouts at the tournament.
England retained the same starting XI which beat Bangladesh in Cardiff, with pace bowler Mark Wood passing a fitness test on his sore left ankle to take his place in the attack.
West Indies made three changes to the lineup that started in the game here on Monday against South Africa, which lasted only 7.3 overs.
The Windies have bolstered the pace attack by giving Shannon Gabriel his first start of the tournament at the expense of off-spinner Ashley Nurse. Andre Russell returns after being rested for the South Africa game and takes Kemar Roach's place, and Evin Lewis returns at the top of the order in favor of Darren Bravo.
Top-ranked England has two wins and a loss coming into the match at Hampshire's Rose Bowl. The West Indies have a win, a loss and a point from the washout against South Africa.
England and West Indies split a series 2-2 in the Caribbean. England's Barbados-born fast bowler Jofra Archer will play for the first time against West Indies.
England: Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood.
West Indies: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Jason Holder (captain), Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Shannon Gabriel.
The sun was out in Southampton and the prospects for a Cricket World Cup game getting started were high.
After just one completed game since Sunday, top-ranked England and West Indies were meeting at Hampshire's Rose Bowl on Friday with hopes high of a result.
West Indies had to share the points here with South Africa last Monday, when only 7.3 overs were played before the group game was washed out.
Since then, games in Bristol and Nottingham were abandoned without a ball bowled and defending champion Australia got enough dry weather in Taunton on Wednesday to beat Pakistan by 41 runs.
England has two wins and a loss — against Pakistan — leading into Friday's contest against the West Indies, who beat Pakistan and lost to Australia before their washout against South Africa.
One of the highlights of the contest will be how Barbados-born Jofra Archer handles playing for England against the West Indies.
The forecast is for overcast conditions with a slight chance of rain in Southampton on Friday.
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