Omaima Sohail and skipper Bismah Maroof stitched a brief partnership of 28 runs, but their stand was cut short as Tumi Sekhukhune dismissed Sohail (10) in the sixth over, reducing the team to 29 for two.
But Maroof found a partner in Nida Dar and they both stitched together a partnership of 89 runs, taking the team almost over the line. Dar (53) was dismissed by Masabata Klaas in the 17th over.
Earlier, Chloe Tryon's knock of 43 runs off just 31 deliveries enabled South Africa to post 119 runs on board for the loss of seven wickets in the allotted twenty overs.
South Africa kept losing wickets at regular intervals and at one stage, the team was reduced to 61 for six and posting a challenging score was looking difficult for the hosts.
Tryon and Shabnim Ismail stitched together a partnership of 54 runs to take the team to a respectable score in the allotted twenty overs.
Pakistan and South Africa will take on each other in the second T20I on May 18.
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