Mohammad Hafeez took Pakistan to a comfortable victory by six wickets with nine-and-a-half overs in hand, Hafeez ending undefeated on 27 off 31 balls.
Imam was given the all clear at hospital in Abu Dhabi on Friday after a quick delivery from Lockie Ferguson struck him on the grille, the opener looking unsteady after getting to his feet before being helped off. Zaman and Babar Azam added 155 runs for opening wicket in 28.2 overs. The Pakistani batsmen chased down the target easily.
"Despite a period of rest, Todd's knee has, unfortunately, not responded as well as we had hoped", said Larsen.
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Kiwi Ryan Fox is six shots back in a share of 11th, after carding a two-under 70 to start the tournament in South Africa. A third player capable of ending the year as Europe's No 1, Lucas Bjerregaard, was 3-over.
Ross Taylor hit a fighting 120-ball 80 not out in New Zealand's innings after they won the toss and batted. Shaheen Shah Afridi got the wicket of Tom Latham to put New Zealand under pressure at 73 for 4. It was quite laborious to see the Black Caps reaching 73-3 after 15 overs - a wicket maiden from Afridi put Pakistan in control and showed his ability to beat worldwide batsmen with pace, as a superb yorker sent back Latham.
Ashraf failed to take any wickets, conceding 26 runs in his seven overs.
Williamson acknowledged his side will need to improve their performance against spin in the decider.
New Zealand turned the tide towards the end of the first half and McKenzie dived beside the posts following a lovely offload from Barrett, who successfully kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit to five points at half-time. Ferguson, who finished with 3-60, then had another lucky wicket of Shoaib Malik for ten when a ferocious pull deflected off Nicoll's shoulder and was caught at mid-on by Ish Sodhi.