Younus Khan's half-century on his return to international cricket was overshadowed by a professional display from South Africa with bat and ball as they eased to an eight-wicket win in the first one-day international in Abu Dhabi.
The former Pakistan captain made 54 in his first innings since he was banned from the team following a poor tour to Australia earlier this year.
Mohammad Hafeez was also among the runs for Pakistan, top-scoring with 68, but Lonwabo Tsotsobe's four-wicket haul in the midst of a dramatic batting collapse helped to dismiss the hosts for 203 with six balls to spare.
The visitors had little trouble chasing down the total at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, with 51 from AB de Villiers and 66 from Jacques Kallis, who battled with cramp throughout his stay, seeing them home in 39.3 overs.
Pakistan lost Asad Shafiq for 19 early on after winning the toss and electing to bat first, but Younus and Hafeez dug in.
Their progress did come with some early luck, though, when Kallis failed to hold a drive from the opener at short cover, Hafeez on five at the time.
The second-wicket pair reached a fifty partnership in 63 balls, before the team's 100 came up in the 23rd over.
JP Duminy was then unlucky not to dismiss number three Younus for 34, umpire Asad Rauf turning down a strong leg before appeal.
Hafeez reached his half-century in the next over and then twice saw miscued shots narrowly evade fielders.
His good fortune soon ended with a cut shot off Johan Botha flying to Charl Langeveldt running to his right on the off side, ending a partnership worth 114 runs.
That sparked a middle-order collapse, and, after Younus brought up his fifty from 67 balls, he was out lbw to Botha.
The reintroduction of Tsotsobe in the 38th over caused further trouble for Pakistan, with the left-armer sending Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi on their way - the captain again holing out irresponsibly with an attempted big hit ending down the throat of Graeme Smith at mid-off.
The Warriors paceman grabbed his fourth wicket in his next over, sending Abdul Razzaq (two) on his way, and Fawad Alam was the last of the recognised batsmen out as Pakistan scraped their way to 203. Tsotsobe finished with figures of four for 27.
In response, South Africa made a steady start, but lost Smith when he was forced to retire hurt on 18 after twice being hit on the gloves by Shoaib Akhtar.
Apart from that blow, the paceman were unable to inflict further breakthroughs, with spin introduced as early as the sixth over.
But De Villiers and Amla had little trouble, raising 50 in the eighth over, before the latter was trapped leg before wicket by Saeed Ajmal for 35.
The 100 followed not long after, followed by De Villiers' 52-ball half-century.
However, the South Africa wicketkeeper then offered a return catch to Ajmal, leaving his side on 147 for two.
Kallis, who was struggling with dehydration, went on to reach his 79th ODI half-century from 82 balls, before retiring hurt.
Duminy (10) and Colin Ingram (12) then took the Proteas to a straightforward victory.