Lungi Ngidi took 3-19 as South Africa bowled Zimbabwe out for 117 before securing a five-wicket win in their first ODI.
Though the Proteas attack did not feature Dale Steyn, who was denied the chance to feature in an international 50-over match for the first time since October 2016, those that did play made light work of a Zimbabwean team that lost wickets at regular intervals.
Heinrich Klaasen spearheaded the chase with an ODI-best 44 from as many balls before skipper JP Duminy and Willem Mulder saw South Africa home with 143 balls remaining.
South Africa’s victory sees them take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series, with the next meeting – a day-night fixture – taking place in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.
Well deserved Player of the Match award for Lungi Ngidi #SAvZIM pic.twitter.com/0tdFQmg2eX
— ICC (@ICC) September 30, 2018
Zimbabwe’s total was their lowest score against South Africa and only captain Hamilton Masakadza (25) and Elton Chigumbura (27) scored more than 15.
Ngidi was the pick of the bowlers but Andile Phehlukwayo (2-22), Imran Tahir (2-23) and Kagiso Rabada (2-34) also returned impressive figures.
South Africa lost Dean Elgar, Reeza Hendricks and Aiden Markram – who made 27 – in the opening 10 overs to give Zimbabwe some hope, yet Klaasen’s knock inched them closer to their victory target, which Duminy and Mulder reached inside 27 overs.
“[I’m] very happy, I just want to keep putting my hand up,” Ngidi said at the post-match presentation. “International cricket is a lovely challenge.”