Mumbai, Dec 3: East Zone put up a sterling allround display to defeat holders West Zone by 24 runs in a keenly contested day/night final of the Deodhar Trophy, regaining the limited-over inter zonal title after a gap of ten seasons.
East rode on crucial half century knocks from one-down Virat Singh (54), captain and in-form Manoj Tiwary (75) and Biplab Samantray (60) to recover from a sorry-reading five for two and post a challenging score of 269 for eight.
Set an asking rate of 5.4, West, bidding for their 13th crown and fourth on the trot, also rallied from a poor start after being anchored by a well-measured innings of 97 off 91 balls by diminutive Maharashtra batsman Kedar Jadhav.
However, they fell short of the target to be all out for 245 in 47.2 overs in the face of some very tight bowling by East, led superbly by Bengal pacer Ashok Dinda who gave them a flying start by capturing three wickets in his first six-over spell and then came back at the death to take the wicket of Suryakumar Yadav (35) and end West's hopes.
They kept the free-scoring lower-order batsmen of West in control in the batting power play as well as the last ten overs to help East triumph for the fifth time in the tournament's history, the last time being in 2003-04. Dinda ended up with superb figures of 4 for 33 while left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem captured 2 for 42 and medium pacer Samantray secured 2 for 52.
Other bowlers also did a good job in helping defend the score on a flat track. Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur briefly threatened to take away the game but East bowlers and fielders kept their wits and sent both back in time to stop West's march.
Earlier, electing to bat, East built their total around Tiwary's 92-ball 75, Singh's 54 in 84 balls and Samantray's blistering 60 off 50 balls. After the fall of two early wickets by the fourth over, East were revived by a century partnership for the third wicket between skipper and man-in-form Tiwary and one-down batsman Singh.
Later, Samantray struck a few lusty blows in making a hard-hitting half ton, inclusive of one six and seven fours to take the score past 250. Opting to bat first, East commenced in poor fashion by losing openers Shreevats Goswami and Ishank Jaggi with only five on board. Both fell to poor shots chasing wide balls, edging to the wicketkeeper.