South Africa 135 for 7 (du Plessis 25, Jordan 3-23) beat England 134 for 8 (Buttler 32*, Tahir 4-21) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Chris Morris scored 14 runs off the final over and two off the last ball, as Reece Topley failed to gather a return at the stumps and complete a run out that would have forced a Super Over, to give South Africa a nail-biting victory at Newlands.
Morris rescued South Africa from a middle-order meltdown in which they tumbled from 98 for 3 in the 16th over to 119 for 7 in the 19th and made hard work of what was shaping as a more routine chase.
Chris Jordan and Moeen Ali shared five wickets, while Ben Stokes also produced an impressive four overs, to almost overshadow Imran Tahir, who had taken 4 for 21 to restrict England to 134 for 8. Tahir's effort, which equalled his career-best, slammed the brakes on England after a brisk start. As it turned out, England did not need too many more runs and once again it was fielding errors which meant they finished on the losing side.
England may not have thought it would get that close after they stuttered through a significant part of their innings. Their run rate was less than six an over for 17 overs after they plundered 36 off the first three and threatened to post a towering total.
Alex Hales and Jason Roy were severe on Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott upfront but their aggression did not last. Roy pulled a Rabada slower ball to Hashim Amla at midwicket and Hales top-edged a sweep in Tahir's first over, which almost brought a nasty outfield collision, to start the slide.
England lost 5 for 29 in the next six overs and South Africa took control. While David Wiese and Morris squeezed, Tahir attacked. He beat Stokes with a googly to have him stumped and had Eoin Morgan and Moeen caught off successive deliveries to stand on the cusp of a hat-trick. He almost got it with a googly to Jordan that missed the top of the stumps.
Even though he didn't, the damage was done. England only had Jos Buttler but he and the lower order could not cut loose to leave South Africa fancying their chances at the halfway stage.
South Africa approached the chase watchfully and, with the top-heavy nature of their line-up, they needed to. Amla, who has had his problems against left-armers, offered a chance when he slashed at a Topley delivery and got and edge but Buttler could not hold on.
England did not have to wait long, though. Three balls later AB de Villiers was caught on the fine-leg boundary and in the next over Amla was out when David Willey got down well to a low catch at mid-on. South Africa lost the bulk of their experience and still needed 100 runs but had 15 overs to get them.
Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy shared in the highest partnership of the match - 41 for the third wicket - but they did not always look at ease. Duminy survived an lbw shout off Jordan and neither of them found the boundary easily. The required run rate increased to almost eight an over and the pressure told.
Adil Rashid proved particularly difficult to get away and Duminy succumbed. He was caught at long-on in an attempt to go big and England began to strangle. They pushed the required run rate towards nine and then du Plessis tried to accelerate but picked out long-on too.
South Africa needed 37 runs off the last four overs with only the finishers left. David Miller's lack of game time and the two allrounders' inexperience gave England the advantage especially after Jordan bowled another boundary-less over.
Rilee Rossouw was next to go, top-edging a sweep, but Miller showed the aggression of old when he took 11 runs off three balls from Moeen Ali to leave South Africa needing 21 off two overs.
Jordan bowled the perfect penultimate over. He had Miller caught at long-on and bowled Wiese with a full delivery to end his four overs with career-best T20 figures of 3 for 23 and leave Topley with 15 to defend off the final over. The only problem was that he had to do it against Morris.
As he did in the Wanderers ODI a week ago, Morris showed big-match temperament and after Abbott gave him the strike he finished the job. A four off a low full toss, a six off another and a two ran as though his life depended on it meant South Africa proved their potential under pressure and England were left to wonder what could have been if Topley had pulled off the run-out.