An experimental Sri Lankan side overcame a late scare to beat Zimbabwe by five wickets with six balls to spare in the King City Twenty20 event.
Morning rain confined the teams to 17 overs each, and Zimbabwe were confined to 106-8 after losing the toss.
Ajantha Mendis, one of six Sri Lankans on T20 debut, took 3-15 in three overs.
Sri Lanka's chase began well but nerves set in as they collapsed from 64-1 in the 11th over to 77-5 in the 13th - but Chamara Kapugedera settled things.
He struck 18 not out off 11 balls with a four and a six as Zimbabwe - whose hopes were raised by the run-outs of Thilina Kandamby and Mahela Jayawardene - were ultimately denied.
Ray Price took 2-9 in four overs, his victims including Sri Lanka's top-scorer Tillakaratne Dilshan (33).