Zimbabwe began their last leg of preparations for the International Cricket Council World Cup qualifier with a shaky 24-run win over Pakistan A at the Harare Sports Club yesterday.

The country will host the 10-nation tournament that will determine who fills up the last two slots for next year's World Cup in India.

And in a bid to go into that tournament best prepared, they organised a six-match One Day series against Pakistan A.

Zimbabwe, though at full strength, are playing under the name Zimbabwe Select and are captained by Wellington Masakadza.

Coach Dave Houghton and the selectors will be more concerned about performances and trying to come up with combinations.

Their win yesterday will be viewed as a good one considering that after being asked to bat first they recovered from 64 for 5 to post 234 and managed to defend it.

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Tendai Chatara (5 for 37) made the most of the conditions to take out Pakistan's top three Saim Ayub (8), Imran Butt (6) and Muhammad Hurraira (3) in the first seven overs and with the tourists on 29 runs.

And with Pakistan A looking to put in some repair work, Masakadza came in and pegged them back by taking out Kamran Ghulam (42), Hussain Talat 29 and Haseebullah (45).

Yet the game was still within reach for the tourists at 106 for 5 in the 24th over and it needed Chatara to come back and take two more wickets while fellow seamer Blessing Muzarabani collared one as Pakistan folded on 210 in 47 overs. Zimbabwe made a bad start to their innings with the top five getting wiped out for just 64 runs, leaving the hosts on the ropes.

Innocent Kaia scored just nine runs, with Tadiwanashe Marumani (1), Craig Ervine (10), Wessly Madhevere (14), Sean Williams (20) struggling against Pakistan A's pace.

Ryan Burl and Clive Madande (34) knuckled down to put 90 runs on the board before Mehran Mumtaz had the latter caught behind.

It looked like Burl carried on and it looked like he would celebrate his century but the combination of Kamran Ghulam, with the catch, and Mir Hamza got rid of him. He had hit the fence six times while he managed two maximums in his bid to give Zimbabwe something tangible to bowl at.

Brad Evans added 19 runs to the board but there was little else.

Aamer Jamal took 4 for 35 in eight overs while Mir Hamza retained figures of 3 for 37 from 10 overs.

Shahnawaz Dahani claimed two wickets from 7.3 overs.

 The two teams clash in the second match at the same venue tomorrow morning.


Zimbabwe A: Innocent Kaia, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Craig Ervine, Wessly Madhevere, Sean Williams, Ryan Burl, Clive Madande, Wellington Masakadza, Bradley Evans, Tendai Chatara, Blessing Muzarabani

Pakistan A: Imran Butt, Saim Ayub, Muhammad Hurraira, Kamran Ghulam, Hussain Talat, Haseebullah, Mubasir Khan, Amir Jamal, Mehran Mumtaz, Mir Hamza, Shahnawaz Dhani.