Janneman Malan and Quinton de Kock produced a stunning 225-run opening partnership to set up victory over Ireland on Friday, although the bowlers then laboured as the Proteas ultimately came away with just a 70-run win.
Ireland were eyeing their first ODI campaign success against a top eight nation after a 43-run win on Tuesday put them 1-0 up following a washed out opener.
But Malan’s career-best 177 not out from 169 balls and de Kock’s 120 off 91 took the Proteas to an imposing 346-4 on Friday after they had shared a first-wicket stand of 225.
Malan’s innings included 16 fours and six sixes while De Kock, back in the side after missing the first two matches, hit 11 fours and five sixes.
Ireland needed to surpass their previous highest successful chase, of 329 against England last year, for victory.
They were never in the hunt, however, after collapsing to 27-3 and 92-6.
But Simi Singh’s 100 not out, his maiden ODI century and Curtis Campher’s 54, prevented a complete rout.
Andile Phehlukwayo and Tabraiz Shamsi took three wickets apiece for South Africa after spinner Keshav Maharaj struck twice early on, with Ireland all out for 276 in the 48th over.
“We were good for a majority of the game,” said South Africa captain Temba Bavuma.
“The batting was awesome, Quinny and Janneman leading the way. Those are the type of performances we’re looking for from the batting unit.
“We hope it’s the start of good things on this tour.”
Meanwhile, Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie was happy with a share of the spoils.
“If we’d been asked, we’d have probably taken 1-1,” he said.
“But having won the second game we were really excited at the potential to win a series.
“They brought their big guns back in Quinny, we lost early wickets and that was a setback.
“But there’s a lot to be positive about coming out of this. Some of our young lads have really stood up.”
Balbirnie was also delighted Ireland were back in front of their own fans after a 2020 where the Covid-19 pandemic denied them a match on home soil.
“The atmosphere here is really brilliant, we didn’t get to play at home last year so it was new to a lot of our guys,” he said ahead of a three-match T20 series against the Proteas starting at Malahide on Monday.
© Agence France-Presse