A match-winning unbeaten partnership of 105 runs between JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien gave South Africa a seven-wicket win in the first T20I against India in Dharmasala on Friday.
Duminy (68) and Behardien (32) guided South Africa to victory after AB de Villiers (51 off 32) and Hashim Amla (36 off 24) shared a 77-run opening partnership to lay a proper foundation for the chase.
The visitors will take a lot of confidence in chasing down 200 for the win after most of the bowlers struggled to contain the Indian batsmen.
Some powerful hitting by Rohit Sharma (106 from 66) and Virat Kohli (43 off 27) put the South African bowlers under immense pressure as they shared a 138-run partnership for the second wicket as India looked set for a total well in excess of 200.
Kyle Abbott (2-29) was the pick of the SA bowlers. The Proteas pulled things back with three good overs between the 16th and 19th overs to limit India to 199-5.
South Africa required 10 runs an over from the outset and the decision to open the batting with De Villiers paid off handsomely as he and Amla raced to 77 in seven overs to lay the foundation for the middle order.
Amla succumbed to a silly run-out before De Villiers missed one advancing down the wicket and was bowled. When Faf du Plessis went after a wide one and chopped the ball on to his stumps in the next over, South Africa were under pressure.
But Duminy and Behardien kept their heads and paced the innings well. The turning point came in the 16th over when Duminy smashed three sixes in a row off Axar Patel, after which the Proteas needed 44 off 24 balls with seven wickets in hand.
Duminy was lucky to survive a plumb lbw shout in the 17th over but with 10 needed off the last over South Africa were always favourites to see it home.
The second T20 will be played on Monday.