George Bailey hit an unbeaten 51 to condemn a near full-strength South Africa to defeat in the opening game of their Australian tour against an inexperienced Prime Minister's XI on Wednesday.
The veteran former Australian Twenty20 skipper kept his cool in a partnership of 77 with teenager Jason Sangha (38) to steer his young side to a four wicket one-day victory at Manuka Oval in Canberra.
The Proteas were earlier skittled for 173 off 42 overs with Jason Behrendorff and Usman Qadir taking three wickets each.
Bailey pounded seven fours as he steadied the ship after his team slipped to 87-5, built on the back of an impressive 57 from 21-year-old Josh Phillipe.
The Proteas brought virtually their strongest team into the game as they prepare for a three-match one-day series against Australia starting in Perth on Sunday.
While missing Hashim Amla (finger) and JP Duminy (shoulder) for the tour, fast bowler Dale Steyn was back and joined Kagiso Rabada in a formidable attack.
But they struggled to break down Bailey and Sangha's resistance, with Steyn ending with one for 41 off seven overs and Rabada two for 41 off 8.3.
The visitors won the toss and batted on a hot day against a team coached by former Test opener Chris Rogers.
But they got off to the worst possible start when Quinton de Kock fell to the first ball he faced, getting an inside edge onto the stumps.
And then Reeza Hendricks went for a duck two balls later, edging to wicketkeeper Philippe to give Western Australia quick Behrendorff a dream start with two wickets from his first four balls.
Skipper Faf du Plessis came to the crease in an attempt to install some stability but he too fell to the left-armer, with South Africa tottering at 30-3.
A 55-run stand between opener Aiden Markram, who stroked nine fours in his 47, and danger-man David Miller helped push them into respectable territory.
But when all-rounder Miller was caught in the deep off Sangha for 45 the end was nigh.