Skipper Quinton de Kock and debutant Temba Bavuma played impressive knocks but India were able to contain South Africa to 149 for five in the second T20 International here on Wednesday.
Newly appointed captain de Kock (52 off 37) led from the front, while Bavuma (49 off 43) too impressed in his first limited-overs appearance for South Africa in almost two years.
But South Africa did not get the final flourish they were looking for and ended up with a below-par total.
India bowled well in the death overs, conceding only 24 runs in the final four.
Pacer Deepak Chahar was pick of the bowler with two wickets for 22 runs from his four overs.
India captain Virat Kohli sent a new-look South Africa into bat with the visitors picking three debutants in Anrich Nortje, Bjorn Fortuin and Bavuma.
While Reeza Hendricks departed cheaply, de Kock looked in sublime touch from the word go.
De Kock cover drove spinner Washington Sundar on the first ball he faced before collecting three straight boundaries off pacer Navdeep Saini who was taken out of the attack after conceding 13 runs in his first over.
Bavuma, South Africa’s Test specialist, joined de Kock after the fall of Hendricks in the fourth over and he too looked in fine touch. He made his intentions clear by pulling Hardik Pandya over deep square leg for a six.
South Africa made only 39 for one in six overs but their innings picked up momentum after that, taking them to 78 for one in 10 overs.
It took a brilliant catch from skipper Kohli to dismiss de Kock and shift the momentum in India’s favour.
De Kock mistimed a hit off Saini and Kohli came running from mid-off to pounce on it, brining the crowd back to life. The stand between de Kock and Bavuma yielded 57 runs.
Vice-captain Rassie van der Dussen, South Africa’s best batsman in the World Cup, followed de Kock in the dressing room quickly by offering a simple return catch to Ravindra Jadeja in the 13th over, leaving his team at 90 for three.
Runs dried up in the death overs but South Africa got a much-needed couple of sixes in the 20th over off Saini, which went for 16 runs.
South Africa: 149 for 5 in 20 overs (Quinton de Kock 52, Temba Bavuma 49; Deepak Chahar 2/22).