| Bhubaneswar Jaguars in action during an OPL match. Picture by Ashwinee Pati |
Bhubaneswar, May 25: At Rs 55lakh, Bhubaneswar Jaguars is the most expensive franchise in the Orissa Premier League (OPL). But after back-to-back defeats in the first two games, the team is struggling hard to prove that it is worth the money.
After losing to Katak Barabati Tigers (Cuttack) by 11 runs in the inaugural match at Barabati Stadium on May 22, the Jaguars suffered another setback the next day when Kashvi Power Rangers (Keonjhar) registered a five-wicket victory over them.
More humiliating was the fact that the Keonjhar team beat them in their own backyard. Cricket lovers who were supporting the Jaguars at the Railway Stadium here were deeply disappointed with the team’s performance.
“Bhubaneswar Jaguars is the costliest team and with Ranji cricketers like Paresh Patel and Bikash Pati, the expectations were naturally high. They need to convert good starts into big scores and defend the total as well. Only a few players are performing well but all of them have to click as a team,” said Sandeep Mohapatra, a Class XI student.
However, some other fans are hopeful of a turnaround in the OPL, just like the Kolkata Knight Riders did in the ongoing IPL tournament.
“Only two games have gone by and nothing is lost. We are optimistic that the team would rise like a phoenix from the ashes and win the first edition of this cricket premier league,” said Purnima Patnaik, a Class XII student.
Despite the losses, Bhubaneswar Jaguars skipper, Paresh Patel is confident that his team would bounce back in the next match against Balasore Baghas on Thursday in Bhubaneswar. “The team was a bit demoralised after two successive defeats but we are now working on our problem areas and hope to win the match against Balasore,” said Patel, who had put up a one-man show by scoring half-centuries in both matches.
“There are six more games to go and cricket is an unpredictable sport. We are putting in our best efforts to make a strong comeback. We won’t disappoint our fans,” added the left-handed batsman.
He said bowling is their strength and the middle-order batsmen need to buckle up and perform in the next matches. “We would make changes in the team line-up. Most of our players are from the catchment areas and do not have much experience. They have to perform,” Patel said.