Shikhar Dhawan struck 72 from 39 balls as India continued their dominance over South Africa in white-ball cricket with a comfortable 28-run win in the first T20I.
Having won the ODI series 5-1, India moved 1-0 up in the three-match T20 series thanks to a powerful batting display, led by Dhawan with useful contributions from Rohit Sharma (21 off nine balls), Virat Kohli (26 off 20 balls) and Manish Pandey (29no off 27 balls) taking them up to 203-5.
South Africa soon slipped to 48-3 and while a partnership of 81 between Reeza Hendricks (70 off 50) and Farhaan Behardien (39 off 27) kept the hosts in with a chance, albeit a slim one, the latter's dismissal signalled the beginning of the end, Bhuvneshwar Kumar taking 5-24, including three in an over, for India.
The Proteas have been plagued by injuries throughout the white-ball leg of India's tour and having lost AB de Villiers for the entire series prior to the match, stand-in skipper JP Duminy gave his side a boost by winning the toss.
India were unfazed though and Rohit Sharma, in conjuncture with Dhawan, got the tourists off to a flyer.
Debutant Junior Dala (2-47) claimed the wickets of Sharma and Suresh Raina (15 off seven) and Tabraiz Shamsi (1-37) trapped Kohli lbw, having seen the India captain dropped off his bowling when he was on just 10, but Dhawan kept going.
With more than 10 an over required, South Africa needed a fast start but when JJ Smuts, Duminy and David Miller found themselves back in the pavilion before the end of the seventh over, the Proteas were facing the prospect of a heavy defeat.
Hendricks and Behardien's stand took their side up to a respectable total but after Yuzvendra Chahal (1-39) removed the latter, the former was one of four South African wickets to fall in the 18th over - three of them to Kumar and one run out.
South Africa finished on 175-9 and their under-strength squad must now try to find a way of turning the series on its head against an imperious-looking India side.
Watch the second T20I between South Africa and India from 3.55pm, Wednesday on Sky Sports Cricket.