The BLACKCAPS failure with the bat against a fiery South African bowling attack handed the home team an eight wicket win in the first Twenty20 International at Kingsmead Cricket Ground in Durban.
The New Zealand team, playing without Martin Guptill and Trent Boult who are both ruled out with a stomach bug, were rolled for 86 in 18.2 overs while South Africa reached 87 for two in 12.1 overs.
The top order made a shaky start with Rob Nicol, Peter Fulton and Brendon McCullum all leaving the middle with single figures.
James Franklin then got a howler when the ball looped up off his shoulder and through to the wicket-keeper leaving tourists in trouble at 27 for four.
Corey Anderson and Nathan McCullum went in quick succession followed by Jimmy Neesham who at least made 10.
Colin Munro whacked four boundaries in a quick-fire 23 but was caught and bowled in the 12th over, leaving New Zealand precariously placed at 60 for eight.
The next pair of Ronnie Hira and Doug Bracewell (21*) shared the most fruitful partnership of 21 before Hira went for five quickly followed by McClenaghan without scoring.
Rory Kleinveldt earned the man-of-the-match award for his return of 3-18 in 3.2 overs but Robin Peterson was equally impressive on a dry, uneven pitch with two for eight off two off four overs.
McClenaghan made a positive start, picking up a wicket in his first over of international cricket, with dangerous Richard Levi edging a ball to first slip for a duck.
Hira bowled out Henry David for 20 but there the rest was smooth sailing for the home side with captain Faf du Plessis (38*) and Quinton de Kock (28*) steering them to a comfortable victory.