Zimbabwe XI secured a five-run victory against a strong South Africa A side in the first one-day match at Harare Sports Club on Monday.
The result was decided by Duckworth-Lewis-Stern after bad light stopped play with seven balls left in the match.
The hosts were on 266-6 after 48.5 overs and on course to comfortably chase down South Africa A’s target when bad light stopped play.
Earlier Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to field before limiting South Africa A to a competitive but gettable 273-7 in their 50 overs.
Seamer Donald Tiripano claimed the tourists’ first three wickets leaving them in a bit of trouble on 94 for four in 23 overs before a 136-run fifth-wicket partnership stand between captain Heinrich Klaasen and allrounder Andile Phelukwayo.
Phehlukwayo top-scored with 87 off 93 deliveries in an entertaining innings which included five fours and four big sixes while Klaasen scored a quickfire 58 from 51 balls.
Tiripano was the pick of the bowlers, taking four wickets for 57 runs in eight overs. He claimed the dangerous South African top three, seeing off Theunis de Bruyn, Tony de Zorzi, and Reeza Hendricks for 32, 28 and 22.
He was also responsible for the eventual ending of Phehlukwayo and Klaasen’s fifth-wicket partnership, which steered the visitors to their competitive total.
Tendai Chatara chipped in with two wickets for 39 runs.
Chasing 274 runs for the win, Zimbabwe’s run chase was made more daunting after losing openers Takudzwanashe Kaitano for a first ball duck, but Prince Masvaure (49) and Wessley Madhevere (34) got the run chase on track.
Zimbabwe XI captain Sikandar Raza then played a captain’s knock, top-scoring with a quick-fire 59 off 50 before Hendricks (2/24) struck with the first of his two wickets.
Milton Shumba added an obstinate and unbeaten 45 from 50 deliveries, ending the match with Tiripano, who was also unbeaten for 24.
The Zimbabwe XI lost opener Takudzwanashe Kaitano for a duck, but Prince Masvaure (49) and Wessley Madhevere (34) got the run chase on track.
Milton Shumba (45* off 50 balls) and Tiripano (24*) were at the crease when the game ended prematurely.
Lizaad Williams (2-29) and Hendricks (2-24) were South Africa A’s most successful bowlers.
The second match of the three-match series will take place at the same venue on Wednesday.