Chasing just 184 runs to win, Pakistan were bundled out for 182 in 46.3 overs, one run shy of South Africa\'s 183.
Sharjah:South Africa claimed six wickets for 17 runs in a dramatic finish to snatch an unlikely one-run victory over Pakistan in their first one-day international at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.
Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Morne Morkel swept through the batting lineup as Pakistan collapsed to 182 all out in 46.3 overs. Fast bowler Morkel took the last wicket, bowling Mohammad Irfan for two as Misbah-ul-Haq's side snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
"We couldn't handle the pressure. We needed to concentrate but that is what cost us the game," said captain Misbah at the post-match presentation. Pakistan looked comfortable even after losing their fifth wicket on 165, just 19 runs shy of their target with eight overs in hand.
Paceman Tsotsobe then took two wickets in successive overs to finish with two for 28 while spinner Tahir, born in Pakistan, returned figures of three for 45 and Morkel picked up two for 23.
Earlier, opener Ahmed Shehzad reached his half-century before cutting his chin and hurting his wrist in a sickening clash with Faf du Plessis.
Shehzad collided with Du Plessis as the fielder attempted a run-out, the South African diving to throw the ball at the stumps while the Pakistani was scampering to get to the crease.
The opener batted on after treatment before being caught at short mid-wicket for 58, the top score in the match.
South Africa, who won the toss at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, lost wickets at regular intervals in their innings before a ninth-wicket partnership of 52 by Tsotsobe (16 not out) and Wayne Parnell (56) led them to 183 all out.
Parnell was named man of the match after he also returned figures of three for 41 with the ball. Spinner Saeed Ajmal took four for 30 in South Africa's innings. The second game in the five-match series is in Dubai on Friday.