Wayne Parnell took 5-30 as the Proteas beat Ireland by 44 runs in the second T20I in Bristol on Friday to secure a 2-0 series win.
The in-form Harry Tector survived the hat-trick and, with the experienced Paul Stirling, started to repair the damage.
Stirling had hit two fours and two sixes in a score of 28 when he was struck a painful blow in the groin after missing a pull off fast bowler Lungi Ngidi.
The next ball proved his undoing, with Sterling slicing a well-disguised slower ball from Ngidi and Aiden Markram, running from point towards short third man, taking the catch.
And Ireland were 40-4 when Gareth Delany was lbw for a duck to left-arm wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.
Parnell then took two wickets in three balls, with Curtis Campher caught behind on the reverse sweep before Tector holed out off a miscued pull for 34.
Then, in his 45th match at this level, Parnell completed a maiden five-wicket haul when Andy McBrine was brilliantly caught by diving wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.
That left Ireland 96-9 and, while tailender Barry McCarthy’s 32 entertained the crowd, it merely delayed defeat.
Earlier, captain David Miller marked his return with an unbeaten 32 and a rapid stand of 71 in 33 balls with Heinrich Klaasen that helped the Proteas post 182-6.
Miller, who missed Wednesday’s match with back spasms, hit three sixes after tight Ireland bowling had initially left South Africa struggling for runs, with opener De Kock again out cheaply.
Klaasen’s 39 took only 16 balls after opener Reeza Hendricks had just fallen short of a fifth successive T20I fifty when out for 42.
But Ireland pulled things back in the field following leg-spinner Delany’s 2-24.
This was South Africa’s last match at this level before they finalise a squad for the T20 World Cup, which will go to India for a three-match series in September ahead of the showpiece tournament in Australia.
Ireland are at home to Afghanistan in a five-match series later this month.
© Agence France-Presse