Faf du Plessis insists under-fire captain AB de Villiers should not be held responsible for South Africa's exit from the ICC Champions Trophy.
Having started their campaign with a routine win over Sri Lanka, the highly fancied Proteas then suffered defeats to Pakistan and India, leaving them unable to progress from Group B.
It marks yet more one-day international disappointment for South Africa, who lost to New Zealand in the semi-finals of the 2015 ICC World Cup and bowed out of the 2013 Champions Trophy in the last four.
De Villiers' future as captain and the make-up of the team have been questioned in the wake of the latest failure, but Du Plessis is standing by his skipper.
"These are the players. There's not anyone else in South Africa that's better than the guys right here," he said.
"It's so hard to put all this pressure on AB and almost blame him. I can certainly tell you he has led the team really well, he has done everything.
"The team let him down. I ran him out," he added, referring to the manner of the captain's dismissal at the Oval on Sunday.
"There's nothing that he did wrong. We were beaten, not even by a better team; we just played our worst game of cricket in a while. Every guy in his role in the team must take responsibility for not fulfilling his job."
"We're very, very sad.We were hoping to play a better brand of cricket today.We just came unstuck against a better team..." - AB de Villiers pic.twitter.com/uF44fD9jRb-- Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) June 11, 2017
Du Plessis feels all of the squad must share the blame after falling well short of the expectations that accompanied the team going into the event.
"It's just the way we played in this tournament," he said.
"I don't think it was just today. The game against Pakistan was a very inconsistent performance as well. [Against] Sri Lanka - one or two guys put their hands up but it wasn't a great game of cricket. All in all, it hasn't been a good tournament for us.
"It's just personal performances. The answer lies in there. AB had a quiet tournament but it's the same thing. All of us need to do our jobs and if we don't, we can't expect to win trophies. It's as simple as that. The answers lie in us not doing our jobs consistently."