AB de Villiers, the squad vice-captain, has won the toss and elected to bowl, with Morne van Wyk taking the gloves and opening the batting alongside Hashim Amla.
Du Plessis will be closely monitored in the next 48 hours before a call is made on his availability for the second match in Centurion on Sunday.
South Africa XI: AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla, Morne van Wyk (wk), Rilee Rossouw, David Miller, David Wiese, Aaron Phangiso, Kyle Abbott, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel.
Match Referee: Roshan Mahanama (Sri Lanka)
Standing Umpires: Shaun George & Johan Cloete
3rd Umpire: Adrian Holdstock
4th Umpire: Patrick Jele
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Hashtags: #ProteaFire #SAvNZCaptain Faf du Plessis has been ruled out of the opening KFC T20 International against New Zealand at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead.
Original source: Faf sits out first T20