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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Cuttack: Odisha cricket team on Thursday won the toss and elected to bowl first in the quarter-final encounter of the on-going Ranji Trophy season against Bengal at DRIEMS ground in Cuttack. Expressing optimism on continuing good performance in the knockout stage, Odisha coach  Rashmi Ranjan Parida said his team are fully composed and confident to cross their first quarter final match in more than 3 years.

“We had dreamt at the beginning of the season to not play in Group-C anymore and qualify for Group-A & B. The boys picked up momentum from the first three matches itself. It was going to be a long season, so I always knew there will be instances where the team would go down, which they did. But it was a great learning experience for them. When your lesser dreams are materialised you tend to dream big. That’s what happened with us too. After qualifying for the Quarter Finals, our eyes are on the finals,” said Parida.

Speaking on major focus area following a lacklustre performance by the batsmen during the season, Parida said, “The pitches were made to assist the bowlers so it was natural for the batsmen to score runs. But thankfully, we overcame that hurdle and with some brisk contributions from the lower order, we have finally managed to come into Quarter Finals. As far as bowlers go, we will make sure that they perform in this match too.”

Asked if Odisha can bring the trophy home this year, Parida refused to be judgemental and said that he won’t put unnecessary pressure on the boys.

“We take one session at a time and make sure that we win the maximum of the sessions in order to win the match.”

On his thoughts on opponent West Bengal Team, the former Ranji player added that “Every team that qualifies for the Quarters is good, so we don’t want to waste our time in judging their game. As a team we will focus on our strengths and play accordingly.”

Both teams have been sweating hard to acclimatise themselves with the conditions before the match. Being said that, Odisha will surely take the home advantage as the wicket at the DRIEMS is going to be a green top with some assistance for the pacers.

Pavan Agarwal, a former Odisha Ranji player said, “This is a golden opportunity for Odisha. No Bengal player was consistent enough except for Manoj Tiwari. Odisha should take the home advantage.”

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