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:
"I'm feeling bad for Dale Steyn. He has been a friend, he is very motivated and wanted to play for South Africa. I wish him a speedy recovery." ~ Virat Kohli
— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) 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
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) June 4, 2019
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