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Tripura hoping to spring a surprise

Calcutta: Determined to end the season on a high, Odisha and Tripura begin their campaign at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy when they cross swords in Tuesday’s zonal-leg tie, at the Jadavpur University Salt Lake Campus ground.

Odisha had come close to securing a Ranji semi-final berth. But their performance at the Vijay Hazare Trophy was simply a forgettable one.

But considering the uncertainties surrounding the T20 format, it won’t be astonishing at all if Tripura go on to surprise their opponents.

“You cannot have any team as favourites in this format of the game. What’s important is self-belief… That’s what I keep telling my players,” said Tripura coach Bhaskar Pillai.

“Yes, we might well be up against an elite side, but we, too, can spring a few surprises. We won’t throw in the towel… That’s for sure.

Odisha, too, are by no means taking Tripura lightly. “There’s just no question of underestimating them. In this format, there are no strong or weak teams. Focus should be on playing to our strengths,” coach Debasis Mohanty said.

Given the talent in the side, their performance so far this season has been disappointing.