Reeza Hendricks stood man alone with a half-century as the Proteas fell to a 111-run defeat to Australia in the opening T20 International at Kingsmead Stadium in Durban on Wednesday.
The right-hander struck 56 off 43 balls, but lacked support as the hosts were bowled out for 115.
This was in pursuit of the highest-ever T20I score of 226 for six in Durban, where the tourists comfortably won to go 1-0 up in the three-match contest.
The series continues at the same venue on Friday when South Africa will be desperate to bounce back from what was an underwhelming performance to kick off the 2023/24 home international season.
There were two debutants for the Proteas in rising young star Dewald Brevis and Gerald Coetzee. Another unique first for South Africa was when Bongani Jele and Lubabalo Gcuma became the first pair of black African umpires to stand together in an international game.
Aiden Markram won the toss at the start, opting for his new-look team to bowl first against opposition who were also without most of their regulars.
But led by their new captain Mitchell Marsh 92* off 49 balls, the Australians amassed a huge total as the home bowlers struggled. There was also a score of 64 off 28 balls by Tim David, who shared a partnership of 97 for the fifth wicket with his skipper.
The best of the home bowlers was the three for 44 taken by Lizaad Williams, while paceman Coetzee managed one for 40.
The reply never really got going for the South Africans after they lost Temba Bavuma for a duck in the first over. There was a slight recovery when Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen (21) added 46 for the next wicket, but the mounting pressure from the run-rate required kept the batters under pressure.
Despite the former batting nearly all the way through, the wickets kept falling around him, as Markram (7), Brevis (5) and Tristan Stubbs (0) were dismissed cheaply.
Marco Jansen (20) came in and played a few shots, but the hosts were eventually dismissed in 15.3 overs, handing the away side a big win.
Spinner Tanveer Sangha, one of four debutants in their team, was the best of their bowlers with four for 31 and Marcus Stoinis bagged three for 18. Article by Ntsako Mkhari
Written by: Lindiwe Mabena