Agartala: East Zone made it three-in-row beating South Zone by one wicket in a Deodhar Trophy match here Friday.
East will clinch the title if they win their last match against Central Zone.
Chasing South Zoneís 240 for five, built around a masterly unbeaten 104 by Y. Venugopal Rao, the hosts overcame a middle-order slump to reach the target in 49.5 overs.
For the hosts, Nikhil Haldipur (30), M. S. Dhoni (65) and skipper Devang Gandhi (21) laid a solid foundation but the middle-order was found wanting against Nairís guile.
As the procession continued at the other end, Kiran Powar (65) soldiered on before falling to S. Sriram, leaving East on 235 for nine.
Bengal left-arm spinner Anirban Chatterjee (10 n.o.) kept his cool and struck a boundary in the penultimate ball to seal it for East.
South Zone 240/5 (Y. Venugopal Rao 104 n.o., A. Kuduva 34). East Zone 243/9 (M. S. Dhoni 65, K. Powar 65; S. Nair 5/29). East Zone won by 1 wkt.
Meanwhile, in another match in Cuttack, Central Zone beat North Zone by 51 runs. After Gagan Khoda (76) and J.P. Yadav (62) took Central to 250, A. Dave (five for 33) ensured that North cannot not go beyond 199.
Central Zone 250 (G. Khoda 76, J.P. Yadav 67). North Zone 199 (A. Jadeja 44; A. Dave 5/33) Central won by 51 runs.