Cricket part-timers the UAE made a bold return to the World Cup after almost 20 years, fully stretching Zimbabwe before losing by four wickets in a tight-finishing Pool B match.

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Shaiman Anwar made 67 and 43-year-old veteran Khurram Khan 45 as the UAE scored 285-7 after being sent in to bat. After slipping to 167-5, Zimbabwe relied on Sean Williams' unbeaten 76 to win with 12 balls to spare.

Off-spinner Mohammad Tauqir, who became the World Cup's oldest captain at 43 took 2-51 as the UAE staunchly defended its total before Williams struck three consecutive boundaries for the winning runs.

The UAE last played at a World Cup in 1996, winning one game, and its players are mostly expatriates who have to work fulltime jobs while pursuing their cricket careers.

The team finished second to Scotland at the World Cup qualifying tournament in New Zealand in October and came into Thursday's match confident of being competitive against teams such as Zimbabwe, which revived its campaign after losing to South Africa by 62 runs in its opening match.

Scorecard:

UAE 285-7 in 50 overs (Anwar 67, Chatara 3-42)

Zimbabwe 286-6 in 48 overs (Williams 76*, Tauqir 2-51) 

Source: AP