"We have a few first-timers here, who have adjusted really well".
Khaya Zondo's post-match statement after their loss to the Australian A side on Saturday, where he insisted that his side is here to play 'good cricket', highlighted the will to show character despite enduring a winless tour of India until today.
A fiery Dane Paterson, playing just his second List A game on Indian soil, led a sustained South African pace bowling charge, folding up the India A batting for 157 on a fresh Chinnaswamy wicket.
Along with Robert Frylinck, who drew first blood, Paterson kept moving the ball away and angling it into the right-handers, nagging the Indian batsmen on a cloudy day where the sun refused to show its face.
The South Africans stuttered a bit in the middle, running into a spirited Khaleel Ahmed, but the sub-par total wasn't going to be much of a challenge.
Earlier, Paterson, who last played for South Africa against India in the T20I series in February this year, unsettled the Indian batsmen on a pitch that assisted seam.
Prising out subtle movement off the surface, the Robert Frylinck-Paterson combination kept the top order tightly gagged. Frylinck forced out an edge off Suryakumar Yadav, and an out-of-sorts Abhimanyu Easwaran's nine-ball runless stay was halted by a Paterson yorker, leaving Shreyas Iyer's side at 7-2 after the first 20 balls.
The skipper himself came in, and along with Ambati Rayudu, tried to steady the innings. Paterson was breathing fire, but the duo looked determined to stick around before Shreyas Iyer let one right through, nullifying all the hard work.
Four balls later, Ambati Rayudu's intended leave took an edge along with it to the keeper, and the side was staring down the barrel at 31-4, more than 40 overs still to play.
The left-handed pair of Nitish Rana and Krunal Pandya tried to put up a fight; Rana, in particular, was dogged in his approach and was playing the ball on merit, but the score had just crossed 50 when Pandya feathered an edge to the keeper.
With half the side down and a major chunk of overs left, Rana found company in Sanju Samson, but could not push along for long, eventually succumbing to a bouncer that he pulled straight down to deep backward square.
Deepak Chahar, capable of yielding the long handle to useful effect, decided to take charge - while there were a number of hits and misses, Chahar managed to find enough bat to smack three sixes and as many fours. He ended up top-scoring for the team, going for his strokes even at times when there were three slips stationed behind him.
With Sanju Samson silently working up a score at the other end, Chahar's adventurous strokeplay took the side close to 150, but once the Agra-born pacer was sent back, courtesy a freakish catch by Pieter Malan at backward point, Peterson took little time to clean up the tale. His second spell, lasting 15 balls, saw him give just nine runs and pick up three wickets.
The 50-run partnership between Chahar and Samson saved the blushes, but the total was far from even challenging. Paterson walked off to applause from his teammates and the handful of spectators at one end of the ground, holding the ball up after claiming his first fifer in List A's.
The Indian opening pace duo of Shivam Mavi and Chahar ensured that the openers did not get off to a flier, tying them down by keeping the line just outside off. By the end of three overs, SA had managed only five runs.
Cloete, who scored a composed fifty against South Africa A, looked edgy, playing and missing at the start before top-edging one to the keeper.
Pieter Malan, opening instead of Sarel Erwee, took time to get his eye in, but anchored one end. Together with Erwee, he managed to traverse down half the road towards the total, compiling close to 80 runs within the first 19 overs.
They looked on track for an easy win, but the introduction of spin from both ends slowed them down considerably. Mayank Markande got the better of Erwee, and the Indians looked to claw their way back in, but the real jitters in the Proteas camp must have come when Khaleel was introduced again.
Bowling his second spell, he castled Malan off only his second ball, bowling sharp, nagging lines to give India a glimmer of hope. Krunal Pandya kept pegging away from one end, and with Khaya Zondo's dismissal, things suddenly took an interesting turn.
Paterson, hero with the ball, came in at No.5 but seemed to be in no mood to see off the danger period. Backing away and going for his strokes, he tried to take on Ahmed's nippy pace but ended up ballooning one to deep point.
Senuran Muthusamy, along with the experienced Farhaan Behardien, brought some sanity back by bringing the total to within a stone's throw away, but Pandya struck once again, sending Muthusamy back. The dismissal was too little, too late, as Frylinck came in and lapped up the target with a couple of fours.
The inability to apply themselves on the fresh Chinnaswamy surface, and a few lapses on the field that included a couple of dropped catches from Suryakumar Yadav, hurt the India-A team the most as they crashed out of the tournament with the Africans gaining a bonus point.
'It was a South African wicket put out today,' exclaimed Paterson in the post-match conference, having bagged his best figures in List A cricket.
Bengaluru turned into Bloemfontein for him - but the five-star Paterson wouldn't have minded it one bit, the wry smile baring it all.