The Proteas have lost their opening ICC World Twenty20 cricket game by five runs, with captain Faf du Plessis relegated to the bench injured.
Opening batsman Kusal Perera smashed 61 to steer Sri Lanka to a five-run win over South Africa in a tight contest in its World Twenty20 opener on Saturday.
Sri Lanka put up a respectable 165-7 and restricted South Africa to 160-8.
Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal had won the toss and decided to bat against South Africa in their group one match at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium in Chittagong.
Perera gave Sri Lanka a fluent start, hammering Dale Steyn for 17 in the first over. But Steyn retaliated, handing Tilkaratne Dilshan a first-ball duck in the same over. South Africa were lucky to include paceman Steyn, who had recovered in time from a hamstring injury.
During the course of his fifth half-century, Perera hit six fours and three sixes in just 40 balls. After his dismissal, Angelo Mathews drove the innings to safety, before Steyn removed him in the last over.
Mathews hit three fours and a six in 32 balls.
In between, leg-spinner Imran Tahir ripped through the Sri Lankan middle order, claiming a career best of 3-26.
Steyn and Morne Morkel picked up two wickets apiece.
JP Duminy hit 39 while Quinton de Kock made 25. De Kock and Duminy together added 50 runs to keep South Africa in the contest, but a late flurry of fallen wickets led the team's collapse. AB de Villiers contributed 24.
Sachitra Senanayake claimed 2-22 for Sri Lanka. Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Mathews and Ajantha Mendis took one wicket apiece.
South Africa were without their T20 captain Faf du Plessis for the match as he failed to recover from a hamstring injury in time to be declared fit to play. De Villiers led the team in his place.
The match at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium was the first in group one.
England, New Zealand and the Netherlands are the other teams in the group, from which two teams will qualify for the semifinals.
The ICC World Twenty20 final takes place in Dhaka on April 6. – Sapa-AP and Sapa-AFP