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Ponting expects Nortje and Warner to be available for game against Lucknow Super Giants on April 7

Capitals head coach also says Mitchell Marsh will be ready for selection against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 10

Hemant Brar
Hemant Brar
South Africa seamer Anrich Nortje is only a couple of spells away from being available for Delhi Capitals at IPL 2022, the franchise's head coach Ricky Ponting said on Saturday. There has been a lot of mystery around Nortje's back and hip injury as the seamer hasn't played competitive cricket since the T20 World Cup last November.
Ponting also confirmed that David Warner would be available for Capitals' next game, and hoped for Mitchell Marsh to be there for the one after that. Warner was rested for Australia's ongoing limited-overs series in Pakistan but, along with other Cricket Australia-contracted players, was not available to play in the IPL till April 6. Marsh, meanwhile, is nursing a hip strain.
"Nortje bowled at 100% this morning in the warm-ups," Ponting said after the match against Gujarat Titans. "I think he has to get through another maybe four- or five-over spell at 100% capacity and then if he gets clearance from Cricket South Africa, he should be ready to go. We have got a few more days before our next game [against Lucknow Super Giants on April 7], so hopefully he is available for selection for that one.
"I think David Warner has arrived in Mumbai. He left early yesterday morning I believe, so he should be there when we get back to Mumbai tonight. Mitchell Marsh has been in Mumbai for a few days, obviously getting his quarantine done. I think he might be out of quarantine tomorrow actually.
"We are hoping that he [Marsh] is gonna be available for the game on 10th [against Kolkata Knight Riders]. He picked up that slight hip flexor strain in Pakistan. So we need to get a lot of treatment work into him and obviously a few good training sessions before he is available for selection. But fingers crossed, Davey should be there for the next game and Mitch Marsh for the game after."
Talking about the defeat to Titans, Ponting said the early wickets cost them. Chasing 172 at the MCA Stadium in Pune, Capitals fell to 34 for 3 inside five overs. In their opening game against Mumbai Indians as well, they had lost three wickets inside the powerplay but there Lalit Yadav and Axar Patel had helped them pull off a coup.
"On this wicket, on this ground, we thought it was a very, very chaseable total," Ponting said. "Unfortunately for us, for the second game in succession we were behind the eight-ball early. There were a few too many quite soft dismissals from our batsmen tonight.
"If you are losing three wickets in the powerplay, it's really hard to win games from there. We know that, the stats say that, they have said that right through the history of T20 cricket. That's certainly one area that we got to get better at, getting through that powerplay. None or one down would be a nice start to a run chase."
Despite the early wickets, Capitals were in a comfortable position at the end of 14 overs. They needed 54 runs in the last six overs with Rishabh Pant and Rovman Powell in the middle. Losing from there, Ponting said, was more disappointing.
"There probably was a little bit of panic," he said. "At no stage tonight did the run rate go out of hand and that's what probably makes it a more disappointing loss than it probably looks on the scoreboard. We went down by 15 [14] runs but the [required] run rate never got above 9.5.
"We had Rishabh in the middle of a really good innings. Rovman Powell had just gone out. If those two had been out to bat together for two-three more overs, I think we would have won the game. But we were not good enough to do it."
Titans' bowler who dealt Capitals telling blows was Lockie Ferguson. He sent back Prithvi Shaw with his very first ball in the match. In the same over, he dismissed Mandeep Singh, too. Later, he came back to get rid of Pant and Axar in another, decisive double-wicket over.
Talking about Shaw, who has been out to the pull shot twice in two games, Ponting said: "I thought he played beautifully in the first game. I think he got 38 off 24 balls and got us off to a good start in the powerplay. He didn't go on to capitalise as you would have liked but because of that start, we were good enough to go ahead and win that game.
"Unfortunately today Ferguson comes into the attack and probably gets Prithvi out exactly the way they would have planned. Unfortunate for him but we will have a good chat with Prithvi. He has been out twice now playing that pull shot, so we might have to do a little bit of work on that with him over the next few days."

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo