Rabada grabbed five wickets in each innings for an enviable match haul of 10 for 63 that helped his side to an innings and 254 runs victory.
He made a notable improvement in the latest rankings, which also take into account the second Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Dubai, which Sri Lanka won by 68 runs on Tuesday to clinch the series 2-0.
Rabada has overtaken spinners Rangana Herath of Sri Lanka and Ravichandran Ashwin of India and is now on 876 points, only eight points behind second-placed India spinner Ravindra Jadeja and 20 behind top-ranked James Anderson of England.
Rabada was not the only South Africa pace bowler to gain in the latest rankings as his new-ball partner Duanne Olivier (up nine places to a career-best 48th position), Wayne Parnell (up 10 places to 60th) and Andile Phehlukwayo (up 27 places to 93rd) have also moved up the rankings.
Captain Faf du Plessis and Aiden Markram, century-makers at Bloemfontein, are among the batsmen to gain. Du Plessis's 135 not out has seen him move up two places to 14th position while Markram has gained 43 slots to reach a career-best 61st position after his knock of 143.
India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara remains in fourth spot and captain Virat Kohli in sixth position. Though India have not played a Test recently, Lokesh Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane gained a place each to be eighth and ninth in the rankings.
Pakistan pacer Wahab Riazs five wickets in the match have seen him overtake Indias Umesh Yadav to take 24th position while Haris Sohail has gained 35 places to reach 83rd rank.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)