It rarely happens that one doesn't feel the pressure of playing a debut match.
This was proved in the case of Eklavya Dwivedi, who stood tall for Uttar Pradesh with a half-century.
Certainly, no one had expected such a start from the young wicketkeeper-batsman, known for his faulty batting
technique. But, Dwivedi used a soft hand, ducked the bouncers and did not try anything unusual against Orissa on Day One of the Elite Group B tie.
While allowing few opportunities to the rival bowlers, Dwivedi carried his bat at a time when scoring was tough due to a heavy outfield at the Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta Stadium and the ball came to the bat at a less than average pace.
This coupled with some steady bowling by pacers Debashish Mohanty, Basanta Mohanty, Alok Sahoo and Biplab Samantaray, did not allow the batsmen to free their arms at any time.
Dwivedi's 83 off 250 balls, with the help of nine hits to the fence, guided the former champions to 174/4.
The knock also saved UP the blushes after they had lost two quick wickets for just 28. He along with skipper Mohd Kaif batted cautiously and took the side to 57/2 at lunch in 35 overs.
It was a dream start for Orissa as Debashish Mohanty swung one back to uproot Shivakant Shukla's (1) stumps off the second ball of his third over. Then, fellow opener Tanmay Srivastava (13) dragged a Samantaray delivery to his off stump in the 17th over.
A slump loomed large but Kaif and Dwivedi did not allow further damage and tea was taken at 128/2.
Once settled, Dwivedi freed his arms with some hard-hitting punches on the back foot.
The only occasion when Dwivedi was tentative was while playing a quick one from Sahoo on the leg. He managed an edge and wicketkeeper Shubrjet Sahoo took a diving catch to his left.
Kaif shared the day's honours with a 51, his second half-century this season. Before being adjudged leg before off a slow yorker from Sahoo, Kaif had struck six boundaries in his 160-ball essay and added 113 for the third-wicket with Dwivedi.