Skipper Faf Du Plessis scored the only half century as South Africa laboured to score 148-4 in the first Twenty20 international against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Sunday.
Du Plessis helped the visitors recover from a shaky start with an unbeaten 79 off 61 balls, his sixth half-century in Twenty20 internationals, which included eight fours.
Bangladesh started with spinners from both ends and reaped instant rewards when left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny dismissed AB de Villiers in the very first over for two.
De Villiers opened the innings only the second time in his Twenty20 international career and conceded four dots before he picked up Mashrafee Mortaza at cover in the last ball of the over.
Quinton de Kock tried to break the shackle with a six off Nasir Hossain over cover but soon became a catch of debutante Litton Das off the same bowler at point for 12.
Sunny returned for his second spell to break a 46-run third wicket partnership between Du Plessis and JP Duminy as Nasir took a well-judged catch at the deep to dismiss the latter for 18.
Shakib Al Hasan trapped David Miller leg-before for one but Du Plessis added 58 runs in an unbroken fifth wicket stand with Rilee Rossouw (31 not out) to take South Africa to a respectable total.
Rossouw faced 21 balls and hit two fours and as many sixes for his cameo.
Sunny finished with 2-19 for Bangladesh.
The second and final Twenty20 international the of two-match series will be held at the same grounds on Tuesday.