New Delhi: With the Pakistani players being sent back home due to cross-border tension, the HIL match between the Delhi Waveriders and the Mumbai Magicians scheduled on Wednesday will certainly lose some of its sheen.
The Magicians would be worst affected by the decision as they had maximum number of Pakistani players in their line-up ' Mahmood Rashid, Fareed Ahmed, Muhammad Tousiq and Imran Butt.
Waveriders also had to let go Mohammed Rizwan Sr. and Mohammed Rizwan Jr. as the tournament is all set to become poorer by their non-participation. However, both the teams will like to forget about the off-field issues affecting the league and focus on the challenges lying ahead.
On paper, both Delhi and Mumbai look formidable outfits. Both the teams possess a strong forwardline.
Delhi, under the inspirational leadership of Sardar Singh, started their campaign on a winning note when they defeated an equally strong Jaypee Punjab Warriors 2-1 in the lung opener of the five franchise-based tournament. But their coach AK Bansal wasn't happy with the efforts put in by his wards.
"We need to improve in many areas. We committed a few mistakes and our goalkeeper (Nicolas Jacobi) saved many chances. We will have to look at the combination," Bansal had said after the match.
Delhi missed the services of their Dutch drag-flick specialist Taeke Taekema, who has been ruled out of the entire event due to a back injury. But Delhi still possess a formidable attack with the likes of Gurvinder Singh Chandi, Yuvraj Walmiki, Danish Mujtaba and New Zealand's Simon Child in their ranks.
Delhi will have to be extra cautious about Mumbai's international stars such as Joel Carroll, Matthew Swann, Glenn Turner, goalkeeper PR Sreejesh and Sandeep Singh, who is the marquee player of the team.