T20: Mumbai's Hardik Pandya returns from injury to face Delhi

Apr 14, 2018, 12:35 IST | Noel D'Souza

Mumbai all-rounder returns from injury to hammer the ball around at nets on eve of Delhi clash

Mumbai all-rounder Hardik Pandya with Delhi coach Ricky Ponting at Wankhede yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Mumbai all-rounder Hardik Pandya with Delhi coach Ricky Ponting at Wankhede yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera

Hardik Pandya's presence back in the nets is a huge boost for Mumbai, who face Delhi in an Indian PreMumbaier League (T20) tie at the Wankhede Stadium today.

The Baroda all-rounder, who twisted his ankle in the season-opener to Chennai and subsequently Mumbaissed the next rubber to Hyderabad, sweated it out during an optional Mumbai training session yesterday. After a brief warm-up, Pandya was right on the money as he bowled almost three overs to Evin Lewis.

The West Indies southpaw, who hasn't really announced his arrival this season with paltry scores of naught and 29 in the first two matches, spent over two hours in the nets constantly dispatching the white ball into the stands. Pandya soon put on the gloves and entered the second net, where he smashed the ball around with ease, one almost hitting the press box on the second floor.

What's hurting Mumbai is that though their new squad has plenty of match-winners, none, barring the Bhatinda boy Mayank Markande seem to have found their mojo. Markande, 20, whose googlies flummoxed even MS Dhoni, has picked up seven wickets in two games to earn the Purple Cap. "If you see in the last two to three years, spinners are doing well in the T20 format. If spinners are brought on after the sixth over and bowl till the 15th over, and if they pick a maximum of two or three wickets in that period, they are doing an exceptional job for the team," Delhi left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem said during the pre-match conference yesterday.

The visitors, who have treaded along the same path as their opponents, losing their first two ties (to Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals) will also be looking to get back to winning ways today.

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