South Africa got off to a wobbly start in the 212-run trail as captain Temba Bavuma departed cheaply.
Nevertheless, 29 off 13 balls by Dwaine Pretorius helped SA in order bring them back into the game before he was removed by Harshal Patel.
Quinton de Kock was sent off on 22 by Axar Patel. Ishan Kishan enjoyed the game as he hit 76 off 48 to boost India to 211-4 in the first T20I.
Men in Blue, who were invited to bat first, got off to a powerful start with Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad setting a 50-plus stand. Gaikwad was removed on 23 (15).
The show continued with Kishan leading the proceedings apace with Shreyas Iyer, who score 36 off 27 balls.
Skipper Rishabh Pant contributed with 29 off 16 balls, whilst Hardik Pandya returned undefeated on 31 in just 12 balls.