Imran Tahir's record-breaking five-for and a half-century from debutant Rassie van der Dussen helped South Africa to an unconvincing Twenty20 win over Zimbabwe at Buffalo Park.
Van der Dussen steadied a wobbling Proteas innings with a knock of 56, though the hosts still recorded their lowest score - 160-6 - on the ground in the shortest format.
But the 29-year-old's 44-ball knock proved to be enough as Tahir's brilliant bowling sliced through Zimbabwe, the leg-spinner becoming the Proteas' record T20 wicket-taker in the process.
Figures of 5-23 nudged Tahir past Dale Steyn's tally of 58 wickets for top spot as the tourists fell 34 short of victory, despite a blistering 53-run partnership between Peter Moor (44) and Brandon Mavuta (28).
Some shoddy early Proteas batting saw new man Gihahn Cloete dismissed from just his third delivery, with the more experienced figure of Quinton de Kock departing soon after.
Captain Faf du Plessis restored some composure to the batting order with a steady stream of boundaries in the powerplay - hitting 34 off 20 deliveries - only to then pick out Mavuta on the boundary from the first ball of the seventh over.
VICTORY!— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) October 9, 2018
South Africa clinch the 1st @KFCSA T20 International, with Phehlukwayo removing Peter Moor for 44 to seal a 34-run victory.
The Proteas lead the three-match series 1-0#SAvZIM #ProteaFire #KFCT20 pic.twitter.com/eTA87uRRWd
Instead, it was Van der Dussen who stepped up for South Africa, reaching 50 during a fourth-wicket stand of 87 with David Miller (39) that ensured a more respectable total.
Their partnership ended when Miller - let off moments earlier as Tarisai Musakanda carried a catch over the boundary for six - chipped Kyle Jarvis to Sean Williams at long-on, prompting a late Proteas collapse.
Fears that the home batsmen had not done enough were soon abated, though, as Tahir took three wickets in the first four overs, including captain Hamilton Masakadza and Musakanda in consecutive balls.
And Zimbabwe's hopes of victory looked to be over when the same bowler removed Williams for 21, with Tahir then trapping Elton Chigumbura lbw with his next delivery.
A stunning display from Moor brought the visitors' target into view as he smashed four consecutive sixes off Tabraiz Shamsi, but South Africa claimed the final three wickets for three runs to dismiss their opponents for 126.
|BREAKING NEWS: Ibrahimovic re-signs with LA Galaxy for 2019|
|Mourinho sacked: Solari not worried for Real Madrid job|
|Mourinho sacked: 895 days and more than £700,000 in five-star luxury|
|ES Tunis 1 Guadalajara 1 (6-5 on penalties): Dhaouadi holds nerve to settle ill-tempered affair|
|Murphy lands permanent Tigers role|
|Mourinho sacked: Real Madrid´s Marcelo lauds ´great coach´ after United exit|
|Unadkat, Varun the top buys at IPL auction|
|Emery prepared to give youth a chance in north London derby|
|Tottenham extend Vertonghen contract until 2020|
|Panthers safety Reid receives seventh random drug test of 2018|
|Kovac relishing Klopp challenge in Champions League|
|Bancroft to return, teenager Lamichhane to fly the flag for Nepal in Big Bash|
|Liverpool still have plenty of work to do - Klopp|
|Messi ´never imagined´ his success after winning record fifth Golden Shoe|
|WATCH: Timberwolves´ Gibson tries to block shot with his trainer|
|Mourinho sacked: Klopp praises departed Manchester United boss|
|Mourinho sacked: Jose the best Manchester United manager since Ferguson - Gerrard|
|Mourinho sacked: Ferdinand calls for ´fresh ideas´ at Man United|
|Mourinho sacked: The mystique has gone as United spell ends in divorce|
|´He´s an interest not only for us but for many´ - Zola praises rumoured Chelsea target Wilson|
|Mourinho sacked: Pochettino focused on Spurs amid Manchester United rumours|
|Mendis eyes double-century for departing Samaraweera|
|Mourinho sacked: Zola expects Jose to be in another job ´soon´|
|Mourinho sacked: Five reasons it went wrong at Manchester United|
|Mourinho sacked: Jose´s Manchester United record in Opta stats|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba, Ronaldo and Jose´s biggest bust-ups|
|Mourinho sacked: Blanc, Solskjaer - the men who could steady the United ship short-term|
|Mourinho sacked: The football world reacts|
|Mourinho sacked: What former United stars said after Liverpool loss|
|Mourinho sacked: Where next for the axed Manchester United boss?|
|UEFA to investigate alleged racist incidents at Vidi-Chelsea|
|Australia unchanged for rest of India series|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba´s tweet a dig at departing Man United boss?|
|Newton left frustrated by shoulder injury as Panthers lose again|
|Mourinho sacked: Pochettino & Zidane lead potential Man Utd replacements|
|Mourinho sacked: Neville urges Man United to go for Pochettino|
|Boylen pleased to see Bulls react to red rag in Thunder fracas|
|Icardi and Inter ´very far´ apart in contract negotiations|
|Mourinho leaves Manchester United|
|Curry humbled by latest milestone|
|Robertson: ´Unbelievable´ Alisson will bounce back from error|
|Curry scores 15,000th regular-season point in Warriors win|
|Rams star Gurley ´day-to-day´ with knee inflammation|
|Saints poised to clinch NFC top seed after topping Panthers|
|Mathews, Mendis centuries frustrate New Zealand|
|Kohli: Relentless Australia deserved victory|
|Relief for Paine and Australia after ending Test drought|
|Australia level series with dominant win over India|
|Libertadores holders River learn group as CONMEBOL boss calls for end to violence|
|Chargers RB Gordon planning to return against Ravens|
|Kobe Bryant visit motivated Browns´ Jabrill Peppers|
|De Bruyne: Fatigue not behind injury woes|
|´That´s not my concern´ - Broncos coach Joseph on job security|
|Lowry on Leonard´s free agency: I just want him to be happy|
|Yankees give Sabathia $500K bonus despite ejection|
|Ronaldo confirmed Juventus interest in January – Mendes|
|Lakers guard Rondo to begin rehab stint in G League|
|Saiz to leave Leeds United for Getafe|
|Whyte thinks Joshua rematch is ´only a matter of time´|
|Greenwood stars as Man United end Chelsea´s FA Youth Cup dominance|
|Panthers tight end Olsen expects ´full recovery´ after surgery|
|Derby County 0 Nottingham Forest 0: Lampard´s men fourth after tense stalemate|
|Clermont lose former All Black Toeava for six months|
|MLS unveils revamped playoff format for 2019 season|
|Ferrari to celebrate Schumacher´s 50th birthday with museum exhibition|
|Rabiot set for PSG exit after cancelling contract talks|
|Pepe departs financially troubled Besiktas|
|Philadelphia Flyers fire coach Dave Hakstol|
|Eagles to start Foles v Texans|
|PSG matches against Montpellier and Dijon rearranged|