Temba Bavuma, the Proteas Twenty20 captain, said the team will take heart from David Miller’s batting performance against India on Sunday.
India won their first-ever T20 series against South Africa at home, defeating South Africa by 16 runs in the second match in Guwahati.
Suryakumar Yadav smashed 61 off 22 balls and shared a crucial 102-run stand with Virat Kohli, who made 49 not out, to help India reach 237-3 after being asked to bat first.
South Africa suffered an early setback when Bavuma was dismissed for a seventh-ball duck off Arshdeep Singh, who struck twice in his first over, including Rilee Rossouw, who was also dismissed for nought.
A brief pause in play due to a floodlight failure had little effect on the tourists’ fortunes, as Axar Patel sent Aiden Markram back for 33.
Miller then attempted to do something unusual by becoming South Africa’s leading run-scorer in the T20 format. In 106 T20 internationals, he has scored 2 050 runs.
“It just goes to show why David Miller is one of the best T20 batters out there,” Bavuma said of the big hitter.
“He looks and feels good, and his performance today gives us a lot of confidence.”
Miller, who hit his second T20 century in 46 balls, and De Kock batted valiantly, but the asking rate proved too much in the end.
Earlier, KL Rahul (57) and skipper Rohit Sharma (43) combined for 96 runs to lay the groundwork for India’s fourth-highest T20 total.
After the openers left, Suryakumar took over and raced to his fifty in 18 balls, bringing the packed home crowd to their feet.
“I’m just thinking about not playing him anymore; just play him on the 23rd (of October), when India opens their World Cup campaign against archrivals Pakistan,” Rohit said of the in-form batsman, who hit his third consecutive half-century.
“He is someone who wants to keep playing the game, to keep going out there and doing well. That is what makes him happy, and we want him to be happy.”
He and Kohli, who also faced the bowlers in his 28-ball knock, tore into the opposition attack before a mix-up and Suryakumar’s run out at the non-end striker’s ended the partnership.
Dinesh Karthik smashed an unbeaten 17 off seven balls, finishing with a four and two sixes in an 18-run final over.
Rahul scored four off a lucky inside edge that missed his stumps, and he continued to attack with shots all over the ground.
In a 21-run ninth over, the openers pounced on Anrich Nortje before Keshav Maharaj broke the stand with the wicket of Rohit, caught at deep midwicket.
Rahul, who was named man of the match but believes Surya “should have gotten” the award, reached fifty in 24 balls with a big six off off-spinner Aiden Markram.
But he was soon lbw, and Maharaj had his second wicket.
The third T20 in Indore on Tuesday is the final match for both teams before the T20 World Cup in Australia, which begins on October 22.