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IPL 2019: Hardik Pandya hits one straight into the stands and Mumbai Indians are elated

Pandya will be crucial for MI this season.

Hardik Pandya
Mumbai Indians’ Hardik Pandya. (Photo by IANS)

It’s all ready, steady and go for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019. The defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the first game on Saturday while Sunday will witness a doubleheader between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Mumbai Indians (MI) and Delhi Capitals (DC).

The MI has won the IPL three times and given its odd-year win patterns, 2019 could be another year of excellence for the side. Rohit Sharma’s side has some top-class talents who can impact the game on their day. This year, the franchise has also roped in veterans Yuvraj Singh and Lasith Malinga.

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Eyes will also be on ace all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who missed the recent limited-overs series against Australia at home because of a back problem and has the IPL as the final opportunity before heading for his maiden World Cup in May-July.

The 25-year-old cricketer was seen practising in full flow ahead of his team’s match against the Capitals who have also revamped themselves, eyeing for the maiden trophy. Hardik is still a mid-experience player in the IPL with 50 games under his belt since the 2015 season. He has scored 666 runs at an average of 23.78 and strike-rate of 138.75 and taken 28 wickets at an average of 32.96.

Hardik, meanwhile, is looking in the good nick in the nets. The same could be understood with the latest picture going viral of the cricketer. The MI shared a photograph of Pandya lifting one delivery straight into the stands and the wicket-keeper watching from behind. The franchise captioned the photo as, “Ball Missing. Last spotted before this cracker of a shot”.

Hardik hasn’t played much cricket in last six months

Hardik Pandya hasn’t played much cricket in the last six months and will look to make the most of this IPL. He got injured during a game against Pakistan in Asia Cup in September and missed matches for a long stretch. He then made a comeback in the domestic cricket and played one game in which he did well.

The all-rounder was then picked for the ODI series in Australia but an unexpected controversy on a television programme saw him getting suspended for a while along with KL Rahul. Hardik eventually returned to international cricket in New Zealand where he played some ODIs and T20Is before missing out in the Australia series.

Here’s Mumbai Indians full squad for the IPL 2019:

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