Australia’s World Cup campaign is in tatters after they crumbled to an embarrassing 134-run loss against South Africa to be winless from their first two games in India.
After suffering a six-wicket humbling against the hosts on Sunday, Australia’s performance in Lucknow was even worse as they slumped to a record fourth-straight World Cup loss.
They also lost their last two games of the 2019 edition in England, thus surpassing three-straight defeats in 1979.
The moment captain Pat Cummins won the toss and elected to bowl first, Australia struggled to do anything right.
Australia put down six catches during a sloppy fielding display as Quinton de Kock smashed a second-straight World Cup century to power South Africa to 7-311.
In response, the five-time ODI World Cup champions never threatened as they were all-out for 177 in the 41st over, and only a late wag of the tail saved it from being far worse after they had slumped to 6-70.
“Probably not much needs to be said tonight,” Cummins said. “I think everyone’s hurting.
“We’ve got a few days … so we’ll regroup, everyone’s hurting so we’ll try to make amends.
“There’s a few things we need to tidy up.”
Star batter Steve Smith started brightly but was on the end of a contentious DRS reversal that led to him being dismissed by Proteas spearhead Kagiso Rabada for 19.
South Africa reviewed the not out call after Rabada (3-33) hit Smith on the pads, with the ball appearing to be tracking down past leg-stump on first glance.
Smith and on-field umpire Joel Wilson were both gobsmacked when DRS showed the ball clipping the stumps.
Rabada then sent down an unplayable delivery to bowl wicketkeeper Josh Inglis, who replaced the axed Alex Carey, to leave Australia reeling at 4-56.
As expected, out-of-sorts and exhausted allrounder Cameron Green made way for fit-again Marcus Stoinis at No.7 in the XI.
But Stoinis performed no better, bowling just two overs, putting down an easy catch and being out for five, albeit in unlucky fashion.
The Carey call came as a surprise despite his recent struggles with the bat, as well as during the Test tour of India earlier this year.
Earlier, de Kock backed up his 18th ODI hundred during a record-breaking win against Sri Lanka on Saturday with a sublime 109 from 106 balls to stun the Australians.
The Proteas opener continued his outstanding form, bringing up his third ODI ton against Australia by smashing Cummins for a six over square leg.
Veteran Maxwell was comfortably the pick of the Australian bowlers, the allrounder finishing with 2-34 from his 10 overs.
They will remain in Lucknow ahead of a must-win game against Sri Lanka on Monday.
Australia are already two victories off the top four teams, with South Africa, New Zealand, India and Pakistan all having 100 per cent records.
Only the top four qualify for the next round, the semi-finals, so Australia will likely have to win at least six of their remaining seven matches to retain a chance of reaching the last four.