Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma's centuries were ultimately enough to get the Proteas over the line against India in the opening ODI at Boland Park on Wednesday.
SCOREBOARD | Proteas v India - 1st ODI
It is another hugely positive result for South African cricket as efforts of a Proteas resurgence continue, and it comes off the back of last week's stunning Test series win at Newlands.
South Africa did not have it all their way in the field, and they toiled at times in the scorching heat, but wickets at key stages allowed them to restrict the visitors to 265/8 from their 50 overs in reply to the Proteas' 296/4 to win by 31 runs.
Much of the excitement centred around skipper Bavuma's expertly crafted innings - he was eventually out in the 49th over for 110 off 143 (8x4) - but Van der Dussen's masterclass was one of the finest white-ball knocks in recent Proteas memory.
South Africa's middle-order gun was left undefeated on 129* when the innings came to close, having faced just 96 balls, hitting nine 4s and four 6s.
While Bavuma was patient, measured and able to consolidate in the early stages after he came in at 19/1, Van der Dussen hit the ground running and sparkled from start to finish.
His shot-making ability was a marvel as he worked the Indian bowlers to all corners of the lush Paarl turf.
Bavuma and Van der Dussen came together when the Proteas were stuttering at 68/3 (17.4), but by the time the former found KL Rahul on the long-on fence off Jasprit Bumrah, they had put on a game-defining stand of 204 runs in 184 balls.
The Proteas would have been pleased with their first innings return, but it came with no guarantees given the quality and firepower of this Indian batting line-up.
Bavuma threw the ball to Aiden Markram (1/30 in 6) in the hope of buying a few cheap overs up front, and it was South Africa's part-timer who got the first breakthrough when he had KL Rahul (12 off 17) caught behind.
It was a big moment for Markram, personally, who endured another disappointing showing with the bat as he ran himself out for 4 (11).
India then recovered superbly, and during a 92-run stand between Shikhar Dhawan (79 off 84) and Virat Kohli (51 off 63), they looked extremely comfortable and cruising towards the target as South Africa quietly started drifting away from the contest.
It was Keshav Maharaj (1/42 in 10) who claimed the all-important wicket with one that turned sharply and beat Dhawan, who was looking to cut.
Then, Tabraiz Shamsi (2/52 in 10) had Kohli caught by Bavuma at midwicket in a moment that was as significant as any other in the contest.
Kohli had looked unflappable for the duration of his stay while Shamsi had started poorly, and when India's former skipper chalked a delivery that he would work away 99 times out of 100, the momentum had swung firmly in South Africa's favour.
Lungi Ngidi (2/63 in 10) had a hooking Shreyas Iyer (17) caught behind, and then, in the very next over, Quinton de Kock dished up a moment of brilliance when he had the dangerous Rishabh Pant (16 off 22) stumped down the leg side off Andile Phehlukwayo (2/26 in 5).
At that stage, India were 182/5 and losing Pant became the killer blow after Kohli had departed that they would not recover from.
Ngidi and Phehlukwayo took another wicket each during that period of collapse, and while there was resistance offered from Shardul Thakur (50* off 43) down the order, the damage was done.
The second ODI will be played at the same venue on Friday, where another extremely hot day is expected.
Play will start at 10:30.
Scores in brief:
SA 296/4 (Van der Dussen 129*, Bavuma 110, Bumrah 2/48)
India 265/8 (Dhawan 79, Kholi 51, Phehlukwayo 2/26, Shamsi 2/52, Ngidi 2/63)
SA won by 31 runs and lead the three-match series 1-0