A dreadful Black Caps performance with the bat has handed South Africa the simplest of 78-run victories in their one-off T20 international in Auckland.
Handed a target of 186 for victory, the Kiwis could barely muster 100 runs as they were bowled out for 107, with nine of 11 players scoring less than 20 runs.
Only Tom Bruce didn't embarrass himself on a damp Eden Park wicket, scoring 33, while bowler Tim Southee blasted a quick-fire 20 before being last to fall.
The poor batting followed the side's rousing late-innings display with the ball, limiting the Proteas to 6-185. Hashim Amla top-scored with 62.
After shipping 98 runs and picking up just one wicket by the halfway mark, the Kiwis relied on sterling Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme performances to stay in the hunt.
Boult notched an outstanding 2-8 off four overs, while the returning de Grandhomme snatched 2-22.
The 27-year-old Boult's display was the third most-economical by a Kiwi in T20 history.
It all counted for nothing as the Proteas cut through the Black Caps' batsmen, who never looked likely to hit the required run rate of 9.25 an over.
'Frustrating from our perspective - we were really all over the shop,' Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson said.
Debutant Glenn Phillips showed his nerves from the first ball and eventually edged Chris Morris to the keeper for five, before Colin Munro went next ball.
On the ropes from the get-go, the unusually subdued Williamson fell for just 13 after hitting to deep extra cover and Corey Anderson went soon after.
Bruce's departure at the hands of Imran Tahir, who notched 5-24 in a dominant display, then ended the match as a contest.
Luke Ronchi fell soon after, before the Kiwi tail-end was skittled.
They'll look to bounce back in the first of five ODIs against the world No.1 Proteas on Sunday in Hamilton.