Australia have wilted in the South African heat, losing the one-day international series opener by 74 runs amid smoke from a nearby bushfire in Paarl.
Chasing 292 to defeat a depleted Proteas side missing Kagiso Rabada, Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen, the tourists were in reasonable shape at 3-174 before collapsing to be all out for 217 with 29 balls remaining.
Mitchell Marsh, right, is bowled by South Africa’s Lungi Ngidi during the ODI cricket match in Paarl.Credit:AP
Much of the credit will rightly go to Maharaj (1-48) and fellow tweaker Tabraiz Shamsi (2-45), who suffocated Australia's batsmen in the middle overs.
Paceman Lungi Ngidi (3-30) did the damage earlier, dismissing openers Aaron Finch (10) and David Warner (25).
The day-night match was played in the shadow of a bushfire that has been burning for several days in the nearby Du Toitskloof mountain range.
Australia's bowlers found it tough going in hot and windy conditions exacerbated by smoke from the blaze, while flames were visible on the mountain when night fell.
The tourists were in control early when South Africa collapsed to 3-48 after electing to bat.
Marnus Labuschagne takes on the country of his birth.Credit:Getty
But the Proteas recovered admirably to finish 7-291, piloted by an assured Heinrich Klaasen (123 not out) who posted his first international century.
Klaasen combined with power-hitter David Miller (64 off 70 balls) to take the wind out of Australia's sails with a 149-run fifth-wicket partnership.
The win was notable for its lack of reliance on star wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock (15), who had carried the team for much of the summer.
"It's not the Quinton de Kock show. He's an incredible player but we can't put all the pressure on him," Klaasen said.
"The coach and Quinny also [told] us if he doesn't score runs, someone needs to step up. He can't bat for 50 overs on his own.
Heinrich Klaasen celebrates scoring his maiden international century.Credit:Getty
"So the big conversation we had is maybe the other guys also need to take it on the chin, man up and also produce numbers as well."
Mitchell Starc had delivered a dream start when he trapped newcomer Janneman Malan lbw off the first ball of the innings, Australia correctly reviewing the initial not-out call.
Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins then combined to extinguish fluent starts from danger men de Kock and Temba Bavuma (26), who was dropped in the deep by Starc before dragging a Cummins delivery onto his stumps.
Cummins (3-45) was the pick of Australia's bowlers, and his dismissal of debutant Kyle Verreynne (48) made him the sixth-fastest Australian to 100 ODI wickets.
Australia's marquee paceman also delivered a brilliant direct hit to run out tailender Andile Phehlukwayo.
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