Despite largely dominating in the Test arena, the Proteas have struggled this year in the 50-over format, losing 10 of their 18 ODIs, including series defeats at home to New Zealand and in Sri Lanka.
The tourists will still be smarting from losing their first Test in 16 matches in Abu Dhabi, despite gaining a measure of revenge by squaring the series in Dubai last week.
An innings-and-92-run victory has given the side some momentum heading into the first ODI in Sharjah, according to South Africa captain De Villiers.
"It is a completely different format, but we still take a bit of confidence from that win," De Villiers told www.cricket.co.za.
"The series was drawn so it's still even, but there is a sense that we are getting used to the conditions; playing in the UAE is different to playing back home.
"Winning a Test match here comprehensively plays a role, we will take some confidence from that."
The tourists will be without star performers Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn, meaning a couple of fringe players will be given the chance to enhance their international prospects.
Colin Ingram and Quinton de Kock are vying for Amla's place, while Wayne Parnell is likely to benefit from the absence of Steyn, who is being rested for the first two matches.
The turnaround from the Test series has been a particularly short one and De Villiers has acknowledged they are lacking in preparation.
"We haven't had much time to prepare so it's up to us to prepare mentally as best as we can," he said.
"We have to hit the ground running here, we are away from home and it's important to start well. It will be important for us to adapt as quickly as possible, get used to the conditions and understand the Pakistan team we will be playing.
"We need to attack them in areas where they are not as strong."
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq does not want his side to relax, despite knowing Amla and Steyn will be absent at Sharjah.
"I always feel that after such news the team (Pakistan) gets complacent," Misbah said at a press conference. "If the (opposition) team is at full strength, it's better for us.
"South Africans have very strong replacements, we have to be mentally strong (and not) look which player is playing and which is not."