Vusimuzi Sibanda struck 95 to help Zimbabwe set West Indies a target of 255 in the first of five One-day Internationals at the Guyana National Stadium in Guyana on Thursday.
Opener Sibanda hit five fours and one six from 162 balls to be the cornerstone of Zimbabwe's 254 for five from their quota of 50 overs after they decided to bat.
Sibanda shared 67 for the first wicket with Hamilton Masakadza, then 100 for the second wicket Tatenda Taibu, and anchored Zimbabwe's innings before Kemar Roach spectacularly bowled him - smashing his bat in the process - in the penultimate over.
Masakadza smote half-dozen boundaries in 41 from 45 balls, and Taibu struck five fours in 56 from 54 balls.
Masakadza was lbw to Nikita Miller sweeping, and Taibu was lbw to Kieron Pollard playing across the line.
When Brendan Taylor failed to beat Pollard's side-footed shot at the striker's end, and was run out for one in the 38th over, Zimbabwe were 168 for three.
Elton Chigumbura joined Sibanda and put on 47 for the fourth wicket before he was caught at long-on for 27 in the 46th over, as Zimbabwe chased quick runs in the closing stages.
Zimbabwe have never beaten West Indies in a bilateral ODI series.