Fine unbeaten half-centuries by skipper Debang Gandhi and Kiran Pawar enabled East Zone cruise to an eight-wicket win over North Zone in the Deodhar Trophy limited-over cricket match in Paradip, Orissa, on Monday.
The duo added 160 runs for the third wicket to help the hosts record their second straight win in the championship.
Openers M S Dhoni (40 off 34 balls) and Nikhil Haldipur (26 off 19 balls) provided the perfect platform with a 67-run stand and the hosts had little trouble negotiating the North bowlers.
Gandhi's 96-ball knock contained eight boundaries while Pawar needed just 84 balls to compile his innings, which was also studded with eight fours.
After North skipper Ajay Jadeja pulled out of the match due to indisposition, stand-in captain Dinesh Mongia promptly decided to bat after winning the toss.
The North batting, however, tottered as medium pacers Sanjib Sanyal and Laxmi Ratan Shukla grabbed two early wickets each to reduce the visitors to 49 for four in the 15th over.
However, Mithun Manhas (72, 108b, 6x4) and all-rounder Reetinder Singh Sodhi (68, 99b, 1x6, 1x4) revived the innings with a 134-run stand for the fifth wicket.
The total was given some respectability by tail-ender Sarandeep Singh, who hit a quickfire 22 off 11 balls. Sanyal, who bowled a steady line, picked four wickets for 48 runs.
The large crowd in the port city which turned up to see some stars in action was initially disappointed as North openers Akash Chopra, fresh from his fine show in Australia, and Gautam Gambhir fell cheaply to the bowling of Sanyal at the Gopabandhu stadium.
Chopra made only two before hitting back a return catch to Sanyal while Gambhir was brillianly caught by Anirban Banerjee off the same bowler for one.
Shukla then came with two quick scalps -- Mongia caught behind for 31 and Vijay Dahiya clean bowled for one -- that pushed North into a crisis.
Manhas and Sodhi, however, put on forth a gritty display by building a partnerships. Tardy fielding by East also helped boost the North total.
Sodhi reached his 50 off 80 balls while Manhas completed his half-century off 109 balls. But the early strikes ensured that North did not get to a big total.
North will now play their second match at the Barabati stadium at Cuttack on January 23 while East will travel to Agartala for their encounter with South there on the same day.
A Chopra c&b Sanyal 2
G Gambhir c Banerjee b Sanyal 1
D Mongia c Dasgupta b Shukla 31
M Manhas c Dasgupta b Sanyal 72
V Dahiya b Shukla 1
R Sodhi run out 68
A Unniyal b Sanyal 2
A Ratra not out 11
S Singh not out 22
Extras (lb-3, nb-8, w-4) 15
Total (for 7 wkts, 50 overs) 225
Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-25, 3-49, 4-53, 5-187, 6-192, 7-198.
Bowling: Shib Shankar Pal 10-1-49-0, Sanjib Sanyal 10-0-48-4, Laxmi Ratan Shukla 5-0-15-2, Sourasish Lahiri 10-0-41-0, R Satish 2-0-11-0, Anirban Chatterjee 8-0-30-0, Kiran Pawar 5-0-28-0.
N Haldipur c Manhas b Gill 26
M Dhoni b Gill 40
D Gandhi not out 75
K Pawar not out 79
Extras (nb-4, w-3) 7
Total (for 2 wkts in 38 overs) 227
Fall of Wickets: 1-67, 2-67
Bowling: Sanjay Gill 10-0-62-2, Amit Unniyal 5-0-48-0, Amit Mishra 8-0-39-0, Sarandeep Singh 10-0-50-0, Dinesh Mongia 5-0-28-0.