South Africa made a dismal start to their 10-week tour of India, losing a Twenty20 warm-up match to a second-string side by eight wickets in New Delhi on Tuesday.
India ‘A’, comprising young talent drawn from across the country, chased down a competitive 189-3 by the tourists with two deliveries to spare at the Palam ground.
The surprise win was fashioned by uncapped openers Manan Vohra and Mayank Agarwal, who gave their team a flying start with a 119-run partnership in 12.4 overs.
Vohra hit a 42-ball 56 and Agarwal smashed 87 off 49 balls that included 12 fours and two sixes.
Upcoming batsman Sanju Samson steered the hosts home with an unbeaten 31 off 22 balls, leaving the Proteas with much to ponder ahead of the tougher contests ahead.
Fast bowlers Kyle Abbott, Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris failed to take a wicket, with Abbott proving to be the most expensive by conceding 43 runs in his four overs.
South African batsmen hit early form — the lone bright spot for them in the game — with JP Duminy top-scoring with 68 off 32 balls that included six sixes and two boundaries.
Skipper Faf du Plessis retired after scoring a 27-ball 42 and AB de Villiers made 37 off 27 balls, the pair adding 84 for the second wicket off just 50 deliveries after Quinton de Kock was run out in the first over.
Duminy and Farhaan Behardien boosted the total by plundering 44 runs in the final three overs.
Duminy defended his bowlers’ inability to restrict the hosts, saying the tour opener was “not exactly about results”.
“I have full confidence in the ability of our bowlers and I will back them 100 per cent,” the left-hander said. “I believe they have what it takes to stop the Indian batting line-up.
“Today was a day for figuring out and assessing what will work for us in these conditions.”
The tourists are due to play three Twenty20 internationals and five one-day matches up until October 25, before starting a four-Test series on November 5.
The first Twenty20 international will be held in Dharamsala on Friday.
South Africa 189-3 in 20 overs (JP Duminy 68 not out, Faf du Plessis 42 retired, AB de Villiers 37, Kuldeep Yadav 1-26).
India ‘A’ 193-2 in 19.4 overs (Manan Vohra 56, Mayank Agarwal 87, Sanju Samson 31, JP Duminy 1-22)
India ‘A’ won by eight wickets with two deliveries to spare