England openers Ian Bell (26*) and Alastair Cook (10*) had charged to 37 without loss midway through the sixth over when the match was stopped for the last time and eventually abandoned at 3.45pm local time.
South Africa captain AB de Villiers had earlier won the toss and elected to bowl first, but his charges had to wait four-and-three-quarter-hours to eventually get on to the field due to rain.
When play did eventually start at 3pm local time, Morne Morkel was able to bowl just a single delivery – a leg-side wide – before Sophia Gardens was once again enveloped in misty drizzle and the action was stopped for another nine minutes.
An initial reduction in overs to a 24-overs-a-side match then became 23 overs per team, of which England were able to face just 5.3 before the game was called off.
Cook and Bell, neither of whom are in England’s T20 squad, struggled to score in the first three overs before Bell played some inspired strokes as he collected two fours and two sixes in 18 balls.
He certainly seemed pretty clued up about how to go about opening the innings in a 20-odd overs innings.
Morkel conceded 19 runs in his three overs, including a pair of Bell sixes in his last over, while Lonwabo Tsotsobe conceded 18 runs in 2.3 overs.
South Africa had included debutant Dean Elgar and Ryan McLaren in their starting XI, but unfortunately neither of the all-rounders had the chance to further their reputations.