Half-centuries from Graeme Smith, Gulam Bodi and AB de Villiers steered South Africa to a five-wicket victory with 19 balls to spare in the first one day international against Zimbabwe at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Wednesday.
Captain Smith scored 50, debutant Bodi made 51 and De Villiers weighed in with 63 as South Africa overhauled Zimbabwe's 206 all out from 50 overs.
The home side reached 68 for two before they lost five wickets for four runs to crash to 72 for seven in the 24th over. Their innings was marked by some reckless running between the wickets that contributed to five of their dismissals.
Elton Chigumbura (59) and Gary Brent (59 not out) picked up the pieces with conservative batting that yielded a partnership of 115 for the eighth wicket.
Although pace bowler Chris Mpofu dismissed Loots Bosman with the fourth ball of South Africa's reply, the visitors were never tested by the small target and Zimbabwe's modest attack on a slow pitch.
Bodi batted patiently in stands of 72 with Smith and 74 with De Villiers to keep the visitors on course for victory.
Vernon Philander, who scored 17 not out, ended the match in a hurry by smashing leg-spinner Timycen Maruwa for three fours from five balls.
The three-match series concludes with games in Harare on tomorrow and Sunday.