Martin Guptill smashed an unbeaten 78 to help New Zealand to a six-wicket win over South Africa in the opening Twenty20 clash in Wellington on Friday.
Guptill, who averaged over 100 during the limited-overs leg of Zimbabwe's recent tour, took just 55 balls to carry his side to victory in the first of three T20 internationals between the two nations.
Earlier, South Africa had required a late rally, led by JP Duminy (41) and Justin Ontong (32), just to post a competitive total of 147 for six after Tim Southee grabbed 3-28.
South Africa openers Richard Levi and Hashim Amla put on 24 in 21 balls before the latter was spectacularly run out by Guptill as batsman and fielder both dived for the stumps.
That sparked a clatter of three wickets for just 14 runs and when birthday boy AB de Villiers fell for eight, the Proteas found themselves on 52-4.
Ontong was reprieved after top-edging Rob Nicol to keeper Brendon McCullum, and responded by launching Kane Williamson for four successive sixes.
He then fell to a superb low return catch by Southee to end a 6.2 over partnership of 50 with Duminy, who followed soon after when he top-edged a hook at Southee.
Kyle Mills took a good diving catch to fine leg to end his stay at the crease but Albie Morkel and Johan Botha put on 20 in 13 balls to see their side to 147.
Guptill made his intent clear from the start, launching Lonwabo Tsotsobe for two colossal leg-side sixes in one over.
He and opening partner Nicol put on 49 before the latter chipped Rusty Theron's first ball to Amla at long-on.
Guptill extended his run of half-centuries to six in all formats when he blasted Morne Morkel into the stands for a maximum.
But soon after Duminy beat Brendon McCullum (16) with a sharp turning delivery to remove his bails via bat and pad.
Guptill won another race to the stumps, beating Morne Morkel's dive to make his ground, although partner Williamson was not so lucky and was run out for 24 from a misjudged single.
Colin de Grandhomme made just one but Guptill powered on, slapping Theron for four the very next ball after being hit in the head by the Proteas paceman.
Six were needed from the last over, bowled by Botha, and James Franklin (8 not out) took just two balls to finish the job.