The Proteas equalled their record of 12 unbeaten games in cricket’s 50-over format with their four-wicket victory in Hamilton over New Zealand in the rain-shortened opening match of the five-game limited-over series on Sunday, which ended with one tantalising ball remaining.
This is to be roundly celebrated by all South African sports enthusiasts, more especially the country’s cricket lovers who have endured the incredible highs and crushing lows of the past few years.
We now have a team rated top in the world in the 50-over game, a side with an encouraging mix of the youthful enthusiasm of players of the calibre of Quinton de Kock and Andile Phehlukwayo alongside the experience of established world stars like captain AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and the wiles of veteran spin bowler Imran Tahir.
But as is the case in all sporting disciplines, conquering one hurdle is simply the spring mechanism which produces the next challenge. And South African cricket has many more mountains to conquer.
Of all of these, the spectre which still hangs heavy over the heads of the Proteas is this country’s failure to win a World Cup. And 2019 and England is still some agonising distance away.