Paul Collingwood admitted that England were on the point of no return after losing by 19 runs to South Africa.
Collingwood fell first ball to England's old nemesis Pollock
England are next in action against New Zealand in Durban on Tuesday in a Super Eights game they cannot afford to lose.
"We keep on losing early wickets but we'll learn and hopefully improve," said the England captain. "We've got two games to go now and must win both.
"We made mistakes in the field, with a few dropped catches, but we would have taken 154, we just had a bad start."
England put down several catches against South Africa but the biggest talking point was the run-out of Kevin Pietersen when he was on 15.
The South African-born batsman was chasing a quick single when he collided with Shaun Pollock and was sent packing by a direct throw from Makhaya Ntini.
Collingwood said: "He was looking at the fielder and the ball and Pollock, whether he meant it or not, got in his way.
"It was just unfortunate. When you're running and looking at the fielder, sometimes you have to gauge whether you're going to make your ground or whether you're going to have to dive.
"He would have got in very easily and that was a bit of bad luck we had but, even with that, we still should have knocked those runs off."
We could have probably bowled South Africa out for maybe 130
South Africa captain Graeme Smith said he would have called Pietersen back had he believed Pollock obstructed him deliberately.
"If I'd have felt he did it on purpose then I would have called KP back but Shaun was trying to get back to the stumps to get behind them," said Smith.
"There's a big pitch out there and Kevin ran straight at him in the middle of the wicket. It was a very fair dismissal and I had no problem with it at the time."
Collingwood was more upset by England's fielding problems than by Pietersen's dismissal.
"I thought the way we bowled was fantastic - it really set the standards but unfortunately our fielding again wasn't up to scratch," added Collingwood, who missed a chance to remove Morkel on 14.
"I can hold my hands out on that one and we could have probably bowled South Africa out for maybe 130.
"If they had got a score like that it would have put them out of the game - saying that I think we would still have taken 154 at the start of the day and we were disappointed we didn't knock them off.
"I don't think the ground fielding was too bad, it was the catches that were very costly and something to look at."
Smith believes his team is hitting form at just the right time in the competition after their impressive victory.
"It was a superb effort," stated the 26-year-old left-handed batsman. "We have a few things to work on but we move on to Durban with confidence.
"We know we bat deep and we wanted a total we could bowl at. We started off thinking 180 would be good but we had to reassess and 150 ended up just fine.
"The pitch greased up and there was some pace and bounce, which helped us."