It may be too early to get excited about the corner South Africa could be turning but we'll do it anyway. This is sport, and it's exists for excitement - the kind that was provided by the series-opener between South Africa and India in Dharamsala where the advantage changed hands and the calmer heads triumphed. For a change, South Africa ended up on the right side of both.

They did not allow pressure to dictate to them and handled spontaneous moments better than before, something JP Duminy explained was discussed in the lead up to the series. "In the last few days we spoke a lot about competing on this tour. We knew that no matter what was thrown at us, we needed to have a counter-punch and we needed to make sure that we focused on the next ball," Duminy said. "Rohit played an exceptional innings but the way we came back in the last three or four overs was good for us. At one stage, we were looking at chasing 220 and that probably would have been a winning score."

South Africa gave away just 41 runs in the last five overs to ensure India's total could not creep up over 200 and leave their own batsmen overawed. A change of ball helped the South African cause as did Kyle Abbott's calm. Abbott has accepted the role of death-over bowler but has not had much opportunity to practise it as he continues to act as a reserve to the premier pace pack. In Dharamsala, he showed that he can become part of the first-choice.

Even with their efforts at the end of the innings, South Africa still had the daunting task of chasing 200 - something they had done successfully only once before in the shortest format. The burden of history could have weighed on them but did not.

AB de Villiers, in his new role as opening batsmen, and Hashim Amla blended aggression and anchorage to complement each other well and put South Africa on course. "The start was very crucial for us. We knew that chasing a big total we needed to start off well and the key was that we didn't lose any wickets in the first six overs. The way AB and Hash played, exceptional," Duminy said.

Amla was run out and the loss of de Villiers and Faf du Plessis in successive overs could have derailed South Africa. JP Duminy arrived at the crease with 107 runs needed off 10.1 overs and was joined by Farhaan Behardien four balls later. South Africa's middle-order has been known to be soft and Behardien was considered one of the weak links but he is changing that perception.

Together with Duminy, South Africa's highest run-scorer in T20 cricket, Behardien batted patiently and persistently, content to whittle down the target without resorting to frenzied hitting or frantic running. "We tried our utmost to stay in the moment and understand what was required from us at that point in time. We have batted together a few times and I think our communication has improved every game. That was our main focus: to try and build on the partnership. The required run rate was around the 12 or 13 mark and our focus was to keep it around that mark," Duminy said. "But we also needed to capitalise and find a big over somewhere."

That came in the 16th over, when Duminy struck three sixes off Axar Patel to deflate the required run rate to just 11 runs an over for the last four overs. Tough but gettable, especially with Duminy in good form. On the trip so far, he has looked South Africa's best batsman, after top scoring in both the warm-up match and the first T20.

His purple patch has come after two months off - time he has taken to welcome his first child into the world - and he said he is both refreshed and ready to assume even more responsibility as the India tour goes on. "I wanted want to make sure I start off with a bang," Duminy said. So did South Africa and that in itself, for notoriously slow starters, represents a corner turned.

08.00GMT, October 3: The post-match presentation quotes in this article were replaced with post-match press conference quotes