Cape Town - Proteas stand-in T20 captain AB de Villiers says his side was simply outplayed in their defeat to England in Southampton on Wednesday.
The Proteas struggled to post a competitive total after winning the toss and opting to bat in the first of three T20 matches.
Jon-Jon Smuts (0), Reeza Hendricks (3) and David Miller (9) fell within the five overs of the innings, leaving the tourists struggling at 32/3.
De Villiers led from the front, scoring 65* off 58 balls and along with Farhaan Behardien (64* off 52 balls) went on to compile an unbeaten fourth wicket partnership of 110.
However, both batsmen couldn't power through in the final overs of the innings, as the Proteas finished on 142/3 - a total easily chased down by England with a full 33 balls to spare.
De Villiers insisted that their intent was to go hard, but they struggled to find the middle of the bat thanks to a disciplined English attack led by Mark Wood (2-36).
"With three down early, Fudge and I did okay to bring it back, but when we tried to take it to them it was really difficult," De Villiers told reporters at the Rose Bowl.
"They bowled pretty well, I'm happy to say that we were outplayed. Even though Fudge and I were at the wicket, I pride myself in taking it towards the end, but it was really difficult to get it away.
"From the 12th over we tried to go, we honestly had the intent to go, but it was just the nature of the wicket and the plans England had in place.
"They kept on hitting the wicket hard and got variations off the deck naturally because it was the middle of the day and the ball reacted differently to the heat.
"I tried to expose all the bowlers in certain areas. I got it right at times, but not consistently enough and we were probably about 20 runs short. I know it probably didn't look like that considering we lost by five overs, but they had the freedom of going after us because they had wickets in hand and we posted a low total.
"It would've been a different game had we gotten 20 odd more."
The second T20 is scheduled for Taunton on Friday at 18:00 SA time.