A century by Reeza Hendricks was not enough for South Africa A as they suffered a lower order collapse on their way to a 69-run defeat in the opening one-day clash against India A at the Greenfield International Stadium in Trivandrum on Thursday.
The right-hander carved a fine 110 off 108 balls (12 fours, one six), the top-score of a high-scoring 47 over-per-side affair, but it was a mere consolation after the tourists were bowled out for 258, chasing 328 in the first match of their month-long tour.
There was also an attacking half-century from Heinrich Klaasen (58 off 43 balls- four fours, three sixes) as the two batsmen shared a 61-run partnership that had given the away side some hope in their chase.
But they collapsed from 208/4 in the 39th over to lose their last six wickets for just 50 runs.
A man all too familiar to South Africans, Yuzvendra Chahal, once again proved to be a key tormenter for the hosts, claiming 5/47 in 10 overs to leave them all out with two overs of the chase still remaining.
They reduced the home side to 169/5 and then 206/6 thanks to an outstanding 2/40 from Bjorn Fortuin.
But Shivam Dube (79 off 60 balls, three fours, six sixes) and Axar Patel (60 off 36 balls, six fours, three sixes) shared in an unbroken 121-run seventh wicket stand that powered the Asians to a commanding total.
Beuran Hendriks (2/89), Anrich Nortje (1/64) and Junior Dala (1/62) were the other wicket-takers for the tourists.
Hendricks and Janneman Malan (18) provided a solid enough start to the chase, before Chahal struck on 38.
Matthew Breetzke (six) and Temba Bavuma (eight) followed cheaply, but Khaya Zondo (30) then offered some support through a 66-run fourth-wicket partnership with the opener.
But after Klaasen and Hendricks added another 50-plus stand, Chahal, a man with 20 wickets in only six one-day internationals against the Proteas, made merry by running through the tail.
Match two of the five-match series takes place at the same venue in Kerala state on Saturday.African News Agency