South Africa won the toss and decided to bat in the first one-day international against India at Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday.
South African captain Temba Bavuma said the pitch looked dry.
South Africa gave a first one-day cap to left-arm fast bowler Marco Jansen following his success in the recent Test series.
Bavuma said South Africa were looking ahead after winning the Test series.
"It's a new format, a different challenge," he said.
New Indian captain KL Rahul said he also would have chosen to bat.
"As a team we are always ready to bowl first," he said.
"If we can get early wickets we can put pressure on the middle order with our spinners."
Rahul said it had been an emotional time for the Indian team following the decision of Virat Kohli to step down as Test captain after they lost the Test series 2-1.
"He has been our leader for such a long period of time, a lot of us debuted under him and played under him," he said.
"It's a bit hard but he's still with us and an integral part of the team."
Play was due to get underway on a hot, clear day.
Temba Bavuma (capt), Quinton de Kock (wkt), Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi.
KL Rahul (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wkt), Venkatesh Iyer, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Umpires: Marais Erasmus, Allahudien Paleker (both RSA)
TV umpire: Adrian Holdstock (RSA)
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)