Skipper Heinrich Klaasen and Aiden Markram struck half centuries to help South Africa post 188-6 in the first T20 international against Pakistan at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Klaasen (50 off 28) and Markram (51 off 32) combined for a 61-run stand as the hosts recovered from a slow start to put up a fighting total after they won the toss and elected to bat first.
Pite van Biljon hit 34 off 24 balls while Janneman Malan made 24 off 16.
Paceman Hassan Ali and spinner Mohammad Nawaz bagged two while Shaheen Afridi grabbed one wicket.
The two sides will meet again for the second T20I of the four-match series at the same venue on Monday. The third and fourth games will be played in Centurion on April 14 and April 16.
Pakistan won the preceding one-day international series 2-1.
Heinrich Klaasen (capt), Pite van Biljon, Aiden Markram, Janneman Malan, Andile Phehlukwayo, Sisanda Magala, Wihan Lubbe, Beuran Hendricks, George Linde, Lizaad Williams, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Babar Azam (Captain), Muhammad Rizwan, Md Hafeez, Usman Qadir, Haris Rauf, Haider Ali, Md Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Shaheen Shah Afridi