Paceman Dale Steyn returned from a brief vacation to inspire South Africa and spinner Imran Tahir took four wickets as they throttled Pakistan's batsmen to win the third one-day international in Abu Dhabi by 68 runs on Wednesday.
Steyn took only a single wicket but his fiery spell stopped Pakistan's momentum after they had made a flying start chasing an imposing target of 260, setting an example followed by his bowling colleagues.
South Africa bowled out Pakistan for 191 in 44.3 overs to go 2-1 ahead in the five-match series in the United Arab Emirates.
Steyn, rested for the first two one-dayers, was surprisingly not given the new ball but used as first change, immediately breaking a 50-run opening partnership off just eight overs.
Taking the wicket of Ahmed Shehzad, who lashed 32 runs off 24 balls, put the brakes on Pakistan and was followed by scalps for fellow seamers Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe who was thrashed in his first spell of four overs.
He then bowled a sequence of 21 dot balls in his second to leave Pakistan floundering in their run chase.
It might have been an even more comprehensive win had Pakistan's tail not wagged with 61-run eighth-wicket partnership between Sohail Tanvir (31) and number nine Wahab Riaz who top-scored with 33.
Pakistan-born Tahir continued his rehabilitation in the South Africa team after almost a year on the sidelines with a four-wicket haul.
South Africa withdrew Graeme Smith before the start with concussion, thrusting 20-year-old Quinton de Kock in as opener.
He hit 40 for his highest ODI score in a 77-run opening wicket stand with Faf du Plessis which launched South Africa to an imposing total of 259 for eight off 50 overs.
Du Plessis, with his place in the team under threat, scored 55 and JP Duminy top-scored with 64.
Image: Imran Tahir
Photograph: Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images