Mumbai: Heinrich Klaasen scored a 61-ball century as South Africa posted 399 and then bowled England out for 170 in 22 overs to claim a massive 229-run victory in their Cricket World Cup pool stage clash at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday.
Defending champions England have now lost three of their opening four games of their title defence and are in real danger of not making the semi-finals as they slipped to a record England defeat in one-day internationals.
They won the toss and elected to field, but had no answer to South Africa's power hitting as their bowlers toiled in stiflingly hot and humid conditions.
Klaasen finished with 109 from 67 balls and put on 151 in 76 deliveries for the sixth wicket with all-rounder Marco Jansen (75 not out from 42 balls), the highest run-rate in a 150-run stand in the history of the men's World Cup.
England's reply never got going as they slipped to 68-6 before a late rally from Mark Wood (43 not out) and Gus Atkinson (35) put on 70 for what proved to be the last wicket with Reece Topley not able to bat.
"It was a fantastic all-round performance, we could not have asked for a bigger effort and to have the skills to top it off was very pleasing," stand-in South Africa captain Aiden Markram said.
"It was a great way to bounce back (from defeat to the Netherlands) and to put a game like this together was superb from the guys." South Africa were held in check in the opening overs, but when England seamer Reece Topley went off with an injured finger, the pressure was released.
Reeza Hendricks, in the side for ill captain Temba Bavuma, made an eye-catching 85 from 75 balls and put on 121 with Rassie van der Dussen (60 from 61 balls) for the second wicket.
Aiden Markram added 42 while David Miller managed only five before Topley (3-88) removed both batters.
Klaasen and Jansen then went on the attack as South Africa scored 143 in the last 10 overs of the innings to record the highest total ever against England at a World Cup.
The chase was always going to be a tall order, but England never looked as though they would mount a serious challenge.
Number 10 batter Mark Wood was top-scorer in the innings and Ben Stokes, playing his first game of the tournament after a hip injury, could only manage five.
"It's incredibly disappointing, we came here with high hopes to play our best cricket and we were short of that and well beaten," England captain Jos Buttler said.
"I thought if we could have restricted them to 340-350, probably on this pitch it would have been a really good chase. They just got away from us at the end."