Mohammad Rizwan was Pakistan's match-winner again as he carried his bat through a record-breaking run chase to beat an undermanned South Africa side by four wickets in the first Twenty20 International.
Opener Rizwan was the leading run scorer with 197 when these teams met for a three-match series in Pakistan earlier this year, and his outstanding 74 not out suggested he will again have a big role to play across four games in South Africa.
It was a much-needed contribution after the Proteas - missing a host of stars, including new captain Temba Bavuma - scored a competitive 188-6 at the Wanderers.
Stand-in skipper Heinrich Klaasen won the toss and elected to bat, and he was stationed at the other end of the wicket as Aiden Markram claimed a first T20I fifty.
Markram swiftly departed for 51, but Klaasen (50) followed him to the half-century mark before Pakistan belatedly slowed their hosts a little.
In reply, neither captain Babar Azam (14), caught by debutant Lizaad Williams, nor Fakhar Zaman (27) could provide Rizwan with a steady partner.
Tabraiz Shamsi (2-29) accounted for both Fakhar and Mohammad Hafeez (13), playing his 100th match in this format, before Beuran Hendricks (3-32) took two wickets in two deliveries, including Haider Ali after 14 off eight.
That pace was surpassed by Faheem Ashraf (30 off 14), though, and a partnership of 48 with Rizwan had Pakistan needing 11 from the final over.
Williams (1-39) was handed the ball and had opportunities either side of the dismissal of Faheem, but dismal fielding throughout fittingly concluded the chase - Pakistan's highest in T20Is - with a delivery to spare courtesy of an overthrow.
Klaasen steps up but fielders fail
Bavuma added to a long list of absentees, but South Africa's performance with the bat offered few excuses and Klaasen, captain for a fourth time, contributed handily.
A target of 189, boosted by the skipper's 50 off 28, should really have been beyond Pakistan, too.
However, Williams - the most prominent of three home debutants - was denied victory in frantic fashion, Faheem dropped before he was bowled and next man in Hasan Ali also escaping prior to the decisive final error.
Pakistan reliant on Rizwan once more
Pakistan named an array of batting talent at the top of the order, with skipper Babar opening and Fakhar given his T20 chance at number three following exceptional ODI form.
But it was Rizwan, Babar's opening partner, who again came to the fore in this format after his team-mates departed.
Rizwan had 81 more runs than any other batsman in the series earlier this year and is set to play a pivotal role again, although he will hope for more help from Babar in particular over the next three matches.
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