South Africa tail-ender Wayne Parnell was run out from the final ball to hand India a thrilling one-run victory in the first one-day international at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Sunday.
South Africa, chasing 299 to win, were struggling until Parnell brought the tourists back into contention with a sparkling 49, sharing a 65-run stand for the ninth wicket with new-ball partner Dale Steyn (35).
Steyn clubbed three sixes and a four and Parnell slammed four fours and a six to bring the target down to 10 off the last over, bowled by Praveen Kumar, after left-arm medium-pacer Ashish Nehra went for 16 in the penultimate over.
Medium-pacer Kumar bowled Steyn off the second ball as tension mounted but last man Charl Langeveldt hit three runs off the penultimate ball to leave the tourists needing four off the final ball.
A wide by Kumar reduced the margin further and Parnell flicked the last ball but was run out on the second run.
"One run would have made all the made all the difference, but credit must go to the guys," South Africa's stand-in captain Jacques Kallis, who top scored with 89, said.
"We lost a lot of wickets when we probably didn't need to and put ourselves under pressure at the end."
Suresh Raina hit 58 to steer India, without four main players, to 298 for nine after being asked to bat first.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who took two important wickets in an incisive spell, was adjudged man of the match.
"When there are so many runs needed and when the number eight and nine batsmen are at the crease, you don't really expect your best bowlers to get hit the way they did," India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.
"Credit must go to the batsmen, but I'm sure we would do better in the next game if the conditions are the same," he added.
The second ODI will be played in Gwalior on Wednesday.
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