Tour match, Worcester, day four:
Worcestershire 262 & 247 tied with Zimbabwe 334 & 175
Kabir's accuracy proved too much for last man Doug Hondo
Seam bowler Kabir Ali claimed 5-48 to deny Zimbabwe a morale-boosting win at New Road.
Having played some excellent cricket for three days, the tourists were left with the task of scoring 176 for victory.
But they suddenly looked vulnerable as they slumped to 128-8 before their hopes were revived by captain Heath Streak, who shrugged off the pain from a bad back to make 37.
The scores were level when Ali returned to have Streak caught at slip by Stephen Peters as he tried to deflect the ball down to third man for a single and then bowled Doug Hondo two balls later as the game ended in a thrilling finish.
Zimbabwe were soon in trouble at the start of play with Mark Vermeulen caught behind for nought after pushing forward to an angled ball from left-arm seamer Mark Harrity.
The main damage was done, however, by Ali, who picked up the wicket of Dion Ebrahim (15) and then removed Stuart Carlisle (23) and Barney Rogers with successive deliveries.
Carlisle followed his first innings century with two confident-looking boundaries off Harrity, but a lifting ball from Ali found the edge and wicket-keeper Jamie Pipe took the catch.
Rogers was clean bowled and when Tatenda Tabu was caught behind off Andrew Hall for eight, Zimbabwe's modest target was looking a long way off.
Andy Blignaut and Grant Flower offered a strak contrast in styles as they revived the tourists with a stand of 64.
Flower eventually lost patience
Blignaut collected eight fours in making 42 at a run a ball, while Flower adopted a safety first strategy as he spent two and a quarter hours making 26.
Both eventually fell to off-spinner Batty, who followed up by yorking Travis Friend with a quicker delivery, but the gallant Streak appeared equal to the task, despite batting with a runner.
The final word was Ali's, however, as he left the tourists to reflect on what might - and should - have been.
Worcestershire: S D Peters, A Singh, V S Solanki, B F Smith (Capt), Kadeer Ali, A J Hall, G J Batty, D J Pipe (Wkt), Kabir Ali,
M S Mason, M A Harrity.
Zimbabwe: M A Vermeulen, D D Ebrahim, S V Carlisle, G W Flower, B G Rogers, T Taibu (Wkt), A M Blignaut, H H Streak (Capt),
T J Friend, D T Hondo, R W Price.