Spinners Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi helped Pakistan bundle South Africa out for 183 in the first day-night international in Sharjah on Wednesday.
Off-spinner Ajmal, who snared 4-30, dimissed Graeme Smith (20), Faf du Plessis (12) and skipper AB de Villiers (four) in his incisive six-over spell to leave South Africa struggling at 63-5 before Wayne Parnell hit a career best 56 to lift the innings after South Africa won the toss and batted at Sharjah stadium.
Parnell, who hit a century in South Africa's domestic one-day earlier this month, hit six boundaries and a six off 70 balls and added an invaluable 52 for the ninth wicket with Lonwabo Tsotsobe (16 not out) to avoid a complete disaster.
Parnell holed out in the 49th over, caught off Ajmal before Sohail Tanvir dismissed Imran Tahir in the final over.
Parnell's wicket was Ajmal's 150th in his 93rd one-day match, becoming Pakistan's 11th bowler to reach the milestone.
Tsotsobe hit a four and a six off Ajmal in the 45th over, crossing the double-figure mark for the first time in 52 matches.
David Miller was the second highest scorer with 37.
Leg-spinner Afridi, who took 3-37, followed Ajmal's good work by taking Ryan McLaren (eight), Miller and Morne Morkel (four) in his nine overs.
The Proteas could never recover from the early fall of opener Colin Ingram for nought, caught behind on the second ball of the innings off paceman Mohammad Irfan.
Jean-Paul Duminy hit three boundaries in a swift 36-ball 20 before falling to Tanvir.
Ajmal then ran through the middle order, dismissing Smith with a sharp turner which the batsman missed and was stumped.
Ajmal then had Du Plessis leg-before and De Villiers, caught and bowled to leave South Africa in tatters at 63-5.
Afridi struck in his first over when he held a smart caught and bowled off Ryan McLaren, who made eight.
Miller hit two boundaries and a six off 51 balls before falling o Afridi.
Parnell's previous best of 49 was against India at Jaipur three years ago.