Cape Town - The Proteas, full of energy, came nowhere near beating Australia in the first T20 at the Wanderers on Friday night.
The visitors emerged comfortable 107-run winners, dismissing their rivals for 89 (14.3) for a commanding triumph.
It was the Proteas' second lowest ever score in T20 cricket.
The fast bowling effort was poor from South Africa, who then followed that up with a dismal top-order batting performance.
Proteas skipper Quinton de Kock won the toss and opted to bowl first on a strip that most were expecting to be a run machine.
Dale Steyn removed David Warner with a bumper with just the second ball of the game to get the fans going, but what followed was an onslaught from Aaron Finch (42 off 27) and Steve Smith (45 off 32) that saw the visitors go to 70/1 by the end of the opening powerplay.
At that stage, a score in excess of 220 seemed very much on the cards, but the Proteas pulled it back somewhat when they took pace off the ball with spinner Tabraiz Shamsi (2/31 in 4) and Andile Phehlukwayo (1/35 in 4).
The innings was still frantic throughout, with Australia looking to push the tempo all the time, but after the first period South Africa would have been more than happy chasing 197 for victory.
Kagiso Rabada (0/45 in 3) and Lungi Ngidi (1/37 in 3) were two bowlers the hosts would have expected more from, but given the high-scoring nature of the Johannesburg wicket and what South Africa, and particularly De Kock, had done against England, the match felt evenly poised at the break.
Easily his side's biggest batting weapon, De Kock (2 off 3) was out bowled by a peach from Mitchell Starc (1/23 off 3) with the third ball of the innings.
South Africa never got going despite their efforts, and while their was resistance from the returning, former skipper Faf du Plessis (24 off 22), the rest of the batting was abysmal.
Ashton Agar (5/24 off 4) took the 12th hat-trick in T20I history when he had Du Plessis, Andile Phehlukwayo (0 off 1) and Dale Steyn (0 off 1) out with the last three balls of his opening over.
44/7 after 8, the Proteas were buried in an instant as the sold out Wanderers crowd fell silent.
Kagiso Rabada (22 off 19) gave the crowd some late entertainment, but it meant almost nothing in the greater scheme.
- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard