Defeats are never nice to witness but they’re easier to stomach when your team was outplayed by better opposition.
However, that line becomes blurred when your team showed little or no thought process in trying to fight.
The Proteas were guilty of that in their comprehensive nine-wicket loss to England in the first of three T20s in Southampton on Wednesday night.
South Africa were vividly shown how to bowl on a two-paced pitch after they won the toss and chose to bat.
Keeping it slower and fuller was the way to go as AB de Villiers and his troops only managed 142/3 in their allotted 20 overs.
But that mediocre score wasn’t really the problem.
Instead, it was thoughtless, uninspired bowling that gifted England this victory.
De Villiers’ decision to open the bowling with the left-arm spin of Jon-Jon Smuts was about the only good decision that was made in the field.
He at least bowled at the pace that gave one a chance on this pitch.
The rest was a shambles.
Wayne Parnell conceded 25 runs off two overs, bowling down leg, insufferably short and then too wide.
And that’s pretty much what the rest did too.
Imran Tahir, who started bowling in the powerplay, was spooked by that role and bowled way too short and quick.
His spin partner Tabraiz Shamsi was less messy but also way too quick.
Dwaine Pretorius (0/20 off two) also decided bowling short was the way to go.
It was properly poor from the Proteas, who simply refused to keep things simple … and logical.
Nobody was really surprised that Jonny Bairstow (60 off 35) and Alex Hales (47 off 38) raced to the target.
The Proteas’ evening started poorly when they lost openers Smuts (0) and Reeza Hendricks (3) within seven balls of the innings.
When David Miller (9) was beaten for pace, South Africa were stuttering at 32/3.
De Villiers arguably compiled one of the poorest fifties of his career but managed to stay in and eventually ended unbeaten on 65 off 58.
It fell to the underappreciated Farhaan Behardien to make a contest of the game.
He kept his head and stroked his way to a career-best 64 off 52, smashing two sixes on a big ground.