South Africa suffered a huge blow to their stuttering World Cup hopes on Tuesday when fast bowler Dale Steyn was ruled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury.
The 35-year-old had been battling to be fit in time for Wednesday's crucial clash against fancied India in Southampton.
But the veteran seamer has been forced to admit defeat, leaving head coach Ottis Gibson's side short of firepower.
South Africa have called up left-arm pace bowler Beuran Hendricks as a replacement for the remainder of the tournament, with Lungi Ngidi also nursing a hamstring problem.
Paceman Anrich Nortje was ruled out with a thumb issue before the tournament even started.
"Bowler Steyn has suffered a second shoulder injury which has not responded to treatment and has ruled him out of bowling for the foreseeable future," the International Cricket Council said in a statement.
South Africa have endured a wretched start to the tournament, losing to hosts England by 104 runs then slipping to a 21-run loss to Bangladesh on Sunday.
Gibson said on Monday that Steyn was winning his injury fight, saying he was "getting closer every day", but less than 24 hours later the talismanic figure was out of the competition.
Here's how Twitter reacted to Steyn getting ruled out of the tournament:
Dale Steyn being ruled out of the World Cup is a huge blow - not only for South Africa - but for the tournament. Steyn is the greatest fast bowler of his generation and one of the most watchable cricketers to play the game. Let's hope we see him on the biggest stage again. #CWC19
— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) June 4, 2019
Big blow for SA. Dale Steyn out of the World Cup, to be replaced by Beuran Hendricks, ICC confirms. — Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) June 4, 2019
The loss of Steyn is a big blow for South Africa already struggling with the absence of Ngidi. It means they must either play another spinner in Shamsi or risk weakening the bowling by playing another all-rounder in Pretorius.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) June 4, 2019
My heart goes out to @DaleSteyn62 though. Genuine great, would have been hoping to put everything into one last World Cup but someone else writes our scripts. — Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) June 4, 2019
Beuran Hendricks is the replacement for Steyn, who may well have played his last game for his country.
It would be a terrible end to an astonishing career.
All those primal screams of joy, and now it ends on such an anti climax.
— Lungani Zama (@whamzam17) June 4, 2019
Dale Steyn out of #CWC19- what a terrible loss for @OfficialCSA in particular and cricket fans in general. Go well @DaleSteyn62 - we need you back firing on all cylinders asap... — Hemant (@hemantbuch) June 4, 2019
Dale Steyn has been ruled out of the World Cup.
Hafeez will now be the tournament's leading run scorer. pic.twitter.com/wDhiB6nt2S
— Eid Dennisbarak (@DennisCricket_) June 4, 2019
Its easy 2 say that Dale Steyn shouldnt have come to the World Cup but the team took a gamble on a high class player
It didn’t work, unfortunately
And the #CWC19 is the poorer for not having Steyn
Spare a thought for a man who has worked for years to get back on the park#sad
— Natalie Germanos 🏏 (@NatalieGermanos) June 4, 2019
WATCH: "I feel really bad for Dale. He has been a friend for a long time. He was in a really good mental space in the IPL." - India captain Virat Kohli on Dale Steyn. #CWC19 @RCBTweets @imVkohli @DaleSteyn62 @IOLsport pic.twitter.com/RKtz8lRu1m — Zaahier Adams (@ZaahierAdams) June 4, 2019
With inputs from AFP