Zimbabwe do just enough to beat Australia A
Zimbabwe warmed up for their triangular one-day series with Australia and India with a narrow eight-run win over Australia A at the WACA in Perth today.
Stuart Carlisle scored an unbeaten century to help Zimbabwe reach a respectable total of 240 before paceman Sean Ervine captured four wickets to dismiss the home side for 232.
The Africans looked to have the match under control after they ripped through the Australian top order to reduce them to 66 for six before a late flourish set up a tight finish.
Australia A batsman Shaun Marsh, the son of Zimbabwe coach Geoff Marsh, hit a brisk 57 off just 58 balls before he fell to a brilliant one-handed outfield catch by Andy Blignaut.
Although the result seemed beyond doubt, tailenders Mark Cleary (29), Adam Griffith (33) and Shaun Tait (22 not out) continued to pile on the runs and give the home team an outside chance of stealing victory.
Griffith and Tait added 53 runs for the last wicket in a defiant stand only to fall eight runs short when Carlisle and Ervine combined to capture the last wicket, giving Ervine figures of four for 44.
Carlisle carried his bat through Zimbabwe's innings to finish exactly 100 not out and win the man of the match award.
The right-handed opener made a cautious start as the wickets tumbled around him then accelerated in the final overs to reach his hundred off 128 balls.
Zimbabwe, who reached the last six at last year's World Cup, play Western Australia on Sunday then Australia A on Wednesday before the start of the international series with Australia and India.