Melbourne: Shane Watson continued to make the most of his `second life` at the World Cup, surviving a dropped catch and a fiery assault by Pakistan paceman Wahab Riaz to guide Australia to the semi-finals with an impressive half-century on Friday.
Watson was dropped on four in the deep after weathering a barrage of bouncers from Wahab, but finished unbeaten on 64 and teamed up with Glenn Maxwell for a 68-run partnership to close out a dominant six-wicket victory at Adelaide Oval.
The barrel-chested Queenslander was also dropped by selectors for Australia`s pool match against Afghanistan, an omission some thought might spell the end of his tournament, if not his one-day international career.
He was a surprise recall for the co-hosts` win over Sri Lanka in Sydney and scored a handy 67 in the match at the SCG when pushed down to the middle order.
Watson batted at fifth in the order against Pakistan to continue his late-tournament resurgence and earned special praise from captain Michael Clarke.
"I`ve said for a long time that a good mix of youth and experience in any sport at the highest level generally has the most success," Clarke told reporters.
"I think we`ve got that through our squad. Yeah, and I think Watto showed that today.
"Like I say, he had some luck getting dropped at fine leg, but then to be able to find a way to tough that out and then capitalise more importantly once he got through that spell, played his natural game, hit the ball really well. So yeah, I think his experience certainly helped him today."
Led by four wickets from recalled paceman Josh Hazlewood, Australia`s seamers were at their intimidating best to restrict Pakistan for 213, setting up the platform for victory.
The India semi-final will promise different conditions on a Sydney Cricket Ground wicket that traditionally offers turn but was benign in Australia`s pool win over Sri Lanka.
Pakistan captain Misbah questioned whether Australia might suffer at the SCG for the lack of a quality frontline spinner against India.
Clarke, an occasional left-arm tweaker, said his team would make do with part-timer Glenn Maxwell and himself, if specialist Xavier Doherty was not called up.
"I don`t think a ball spun in the game we played against Sri Lanka," Clarke said. "I think it`ll depend on what wicket gets prepared.
"If it does spin, we`ve got spinning options in our squad.
"I`ve got confidence that whatever 11 is selected, we play our best cricket, we give ourselves every chance of winning that game in whatever conditions."