Providence, Guyana:Zimbabwe held their nerve to defeat the West Indies by two runs in a thrilling first One-Day International at the Guyana National Stadium on Thursday.
The hosts, chasing Zimbabwe's 254 for five off 50 overs, were restricted to 252 for nine.
The West Indies needed 15 runs off the last over and were well on course when tailender Nikita Miller hit a six and a four off the first two balls.
He took a single off the third delivery before debutant pacer Shingirai Masakadza shifted the momentum with two wickets in successive balls.
It left the hosts needing four off the last ball and last man Kemar Roach could only eek out a single to midwicket as Zimbabwe celebrated their first one-day victory over the West Indies in the Caribbean in ten attempts.
The West Indies' run chase was paced by their two most experienced batsmen, captain Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Gayle laid a solid platform with an opening stand of 99 in 23 overs with 19-year-old debutant Adrian Barath.
Left-hander Gayle cracked three sixes and two fours for his 57 off 66 balls while Barath compiled an even 50 off 96 deliveries.
The diminutive right-hander hit four fours and a six.
Once they both departed in mid-innings, left-hander Chanderpaul was the lone man to stand up in the middle and lower order, striking a run-a-ball 70.
When he was sixth out to Shingirai Masakadza, Zimbabwe were on top with 22 still required off 13 balls.
Elton Chigumbura bowled a tidy penultimate over, claiming the wicket of Denesh Ramdin and conceding seven to set up a tense finale.
Tailender Miller slammed the first ball of the final over high to long-on for six and followed that by carving a four past short third man before nudging a single off the third.
But Shingirai Masakadza kept his composure and bowled a swiping Dwayne Smith before claiming Sulieman Benn next ball thanks to a fantastic running catch by Graeme Cremer at midwicket.
Roach could not deliver the final ball boundary the West Indies needed.
Earlier, opener Vusi Sibanda hit a resolute 95 to anchor Zimbabwe after they won the toss and batted. The 26-year-old, in his 80th match, struck five fours and a six off 162 deliveries.
Wicket-keeper Tatenda Taibu contributed a vital 56 off 54 balls in a second wicket stand of 100 with Sibanda.
Hamilton Masakadza scored 41 off 45 deliveries at the top of the order.
Zimbabwe got a steady start from Hamilton Masakadza and Sibanda, who added 67 for the first wicket on a placid pitch.
Hamilton Masakadza was the more fluent, striking six fours before he was leg before wicket to left-arm spinner Miller as he missed a sweep.
Taibu took some time to settle but eventually flourished to dominate a century stand with the solid Sibanda.
The diminutive Taibu was eventually lbw to Pollard, who then ran out Brendan Taylor (1) in the same over with a left-footed direct hit with his follow through at 168 for three.
Sibanda continued to be a perfect foil for the strokemakers and added a run-a-ball 47 with Chigumbura, who hit a six and a four in 27 off 22 balls.
Chigumbura holed out off Pollard towards the end while Sibanda missed out on a second one-day century when Roach produced a wicked yorker that broke Sibanda's bat in half.
The second contest in the five-match series is at the same venue on Saturday.