Mohammad Rizwan hit an unbeaten 104 off 64 deliveries as Pakistan beat the Proteas by three runs in the first T20I in Lahore on Thursday.
Opening the batting, Rizwan struck a heroic century that all but guided the Pakistan innings with no real other contributions.
Spinner Bjorn Fortuin made the perfect start for the visitors, however, by running out Babar Azam for a golden duck with a brilliant piece of fielding.
Andile Phehlukwayo accounted for Haider Ali, who hit a few big blows before departing for 21.
Hussain Talat was stumped by Heinrich Klaasen for 15 off Tabraiz Shamsi’s bowling, although replays suggested his foot might have been on the ground when the bails came off.
Rizwan, though, carried on and despite losing wickets around him, made sure Pakistan posted a respectable 169-6.
Phehlukwayo finished with two wickets, while Fortuin, Lutho Sipamla and Shamsi all bagged one each.
The Proteas made a flying start with the bat, Janneman Malan the aggressor early on in the innings.
He raced to 44 before he was bowled by Usman Qadir. The spinner struck again by clean bowling debutant Jacques Snyman, who could manage only two.
Reeza Hendricks looked solid and played a couple of strokes but didn’t receive any real assistance from the other batsmen.
David Miller made six, Klaasen 12 and Phehlukwayo 14 as the Proteas middle order failed to fire in the run chase.
Hendricks reached his half-century but was run out by Rizwan along the way for 54 from 42 deliveries.
Dwaine Pretorius and Fortuin hit a few boundaries towards the end of the innings that kept the Proteas in the contest.
But, requiring six runs from the final delivery, Faheem Ashraf kept it tight to help Pakistan over the line.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday in the second T20I.