In earning a point — the verb is probably incorrect — against the West Indies on Monday, the Proteas’ World Cup hopes are hanging by a thread. We can be precise about the width of that thread: it is exactly one point wide, no more and no less. With it, SA are anchored to the bottom of the World Cup table in ninth position, marginally ahead of Afghanistan in 10th.

Never mind how to go about measuring a point, at the moment one slim point is keeping a team hoping and a nation enthralled. The jokes and memes continue to come thick and fast but the water-cooler conversations and moaning sessions are still tinged with a kind of antic "dare we?" optimism.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now