South Africa's bowlers scripted a dramatic win in the second T20I against Australia as the tourists failed to make 25 runs in the last three overs on a slow surface at St George's Park on Sunday.
After being humiliated in the opening contest of the three-match T20I series, the Proteas completed a significant turnaround to lift their spirits in the second game.
Australia's opening batsman David Warner conjured an unbeaten 67 but his dogged effort was not enough to avoid a 12-run loss for them.
The visitors' collapse in the middle saw them lose three wickets for eight runs in 13 deliveries as they slipped to their first defeat in nine matches dating back to November 2018.
South Africa skipper Quinton de Kock led from the front in emphatic fashion by smashing a 47-ball 70 to get his team off to a tremendous start in the game.
He recouped the confidence of his side by dishing out lusty blows to spearhead South Africa's batting charge.
He raced to the half-century landmark in just 31 balls and continued to fire on all cylinders with little contribution from his batting partners.
Warner, Aaron Finch and former captain Steve Smith got Australia off to a typically aggressive start but faltered in the middle overs when scoring became intensely difficult on the pitch.
"We realised the new ball is really key with the bat," said de Kock following the Proteas' win. "It gets more difficult towards the end so we were trying to capitalise on the powerplay.
"We thought 160 was par because we know this wicket. It was always going to be more difficult towards the end."
South Africa's boundary-laden powerplay witnessed them racking up 59 runs without the loss of any wicket. In response, Australia managed 54 for one in the first six overs.
Warner and Smith kept battling on, giving South Africa little chance of finding a breakthrough.
Eventually, Smith was caught via a superb diving catch from Faf du Plessis at mid-on for 29.
South Africa's lethal pace trio comprising the likes of Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje kept things tight and made sure Warner remained off-strike in the crunch moments of the match.
"I thought we were on track for most of the chase but we didn't get that kick at the end which we needed," said Aussie skipper Finch.
"South Africa bowled beautifully and they executed brilliantly under pressure."
The series decider will now take place on Wednesday in Cape Town with both teams vying to finish the series on a high.