South Africa had some anxious moments before defeating Zimbabwe with five wickets in the first one-day international on the Diamond Oval on Sunday.
It seemed an easy day for the hosts when Zimbabwe left 117, the lowest total in 39 one-day internationals between the two countries.
But South Africa also struggled on a field of variable and sometimes steep bounce, losing their first four wickets during 58 runs before a heavily hit 44 by wicket-keeper Heinrich Klaasen brought them most of the way to victory.
"It was a very indifferent wicket," said the seated South African captain JP Duminy. "There was always something for the bowlers, even though we walked well, it was quite a difficult total to hunt."
Opening bowler Lungi Ngidi took three to 19 to lead a powerful South African bowling performance after Duminy sent Zimbabwe inside to braid.
"It was all about keeping things simple, doing your best and the wicket doing the rest," said Ngidi, who was named the man of the game.
Duminy's decision to throw came to an end almost immediately when Solomon Mire was scored after scoring on Ngidi's second slip.
Although Captain Hamilton made Masakadza 25 and struck Elton Chigumbura 27, Zimbabwe was not able to compose substantial partnerships because the South African bowlers maintain control.
"We were surprised how it played," said Masakadza. "If we had scored another 50 or 60 runs, we would have been more competitive."
Kagiso Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo and legspinner took two wickets each to back up Ngidi.
Zimbabwe was perhaps unhappy when Craig Ervine was the second batter who fell, the puck trailed Wiaan Mulder when it was again suggested that the ball might have missed his bat. There is no decision-making system in this low-profile series.
Tendai Chatara ventured an impressive opening spell, took two for 12 in six remnants to raise Zimbabwe's hopes before Klaasen took the lead. Klaasen beat 44 of 44 balls before he was fifth man with another 22 points.
Klaasen hit two consecutive sixes of the left arm spinner Wellington Masakadza before being caught in the deep and trying to hit a third.