New Zealand won the toss and sent South Africa in to bat in the one-off Twenty20 at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday.
Black Caps captain Kane Williamson said he hoped the ball would move around in humid conditions on a slow wicket that was under covers for much of the day due to rain.
"It's been under covers a lot during the last day or two and it'll be a little bit sweaty so we want to see what it does first up," he said.
South African skipper Faf du Plessis said he was unsure what to expect at the ground, which was the scene of the Proteas' World Cup semi-final loss to the Black Caps in 2015.
"Hopefully we've learned a few lessons in key areas about where to bowl and not to bowl," he said.
New Zealand and South Africa have played 14 T20 internationals, with the Proteas victorious in 10 of them.
It is the opening fixture in a busy tour for the South Africans which also includes five one-dayers and three Tests.
Glenn Phillips, Kane Williamson (capt), Colin Munro, Tom Bruce, Corey Anderson, Colin de Grandhomme, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ben Wheeler, Tim Southee, Trent Boult.
Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis (capt), JP Duminy, Farhaan Behardien, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dane Paterson, Imran Tahir.
Umpires: Chris Brown (NZL), Wayne Knights (NZL)
Third umpire: Tony Gillies (AUS)
Match referee: Javagal Srinath (IND)