Zimbabweans squeak home by eight runs
Zimbabweans 240 (Carlisle 100*) beat Australia A 232 (Marsh 57; Ervine 4-44) by 8 runs
Stuart Carlisle: ensured that the Zimbabweans reached a competitive total
© Getty Images
A match which the Zimbabweans had under control for much of the time threatened to slip away, but Sean Ervine held his nerve at the death, ending an excellent 53-run last-wicket stand as Australia A fell just eight runs short in a warm-up match at the WACA in Perth. After Stuart Carlisle had carried his bat in making an unbeaten 100 to lift the Zimbabweans to 240, Australia A seemed out of the contest at 66 for 6 in the 23rd over.
Then came the fightback, with each of the next four wickets putting together useful partnerships. Shaun Marsh, who scored 57, featured in three of them, but when he was dismissed - by Ervine again - Australia A were struggling at 179 for 9, requiring a further 62 from nine overs.
Adam Griffith, the No. 10 batsman, and Shaun Tait, at No. 11, then began the improbable recovery, keeping the score ticking over and ensuring that the asking rate remained achievable. Griffith's 33 came from just 35 balls, before he chipped a catch to Carlisle at gully to end the contest, with Tait unbeaten on a gallant 22.
Earlier, Carlisle held the Zimbabwean innings together, as no other batsman crossed 40. He stitched together two useful partnerships - 58 for the second wicket with Mark Vermeulen (37), and 61 for the third with Grant Flower (26). However, both Vermeulen and Flower were run out, and when Heath Streak was dismissed for 2 in the 28th over (142 for 6), the Zimbabweans were in danger of being bowled out well within 50 overs.
Ervine and Ray Price provided Carlisle with useful support to ensure that the innings went to within one ball of its full quota. Carlisle's hundred, which was brought up off the fourth ball of the last over, came from 128 deliveries and included nine fours and a six. It allowed the Zimbabweans to post a competitive total which, in the end, turned out to be just enough.
Zimbabwe have two more warm-up games lined up - against Western Australia on January 4 and Australia A on January 7 - before starting their VB Series campaign.