ICC World Cup 2015, 3rd quarter-final: Australia vs Pakistan - Preview
History favours Australia, but Pakistan`s astonishing ability to conjure magical wins promises enthralling cricket during their World Cup quarter-final at the Adelaide Oval on Friday.
Adelaide Oval: History favours Australia, but Pakistan`s astonishing ability to conjure magical wins promises enthralling cricket during their World Cup quarter-final at the Adelaide Oval on Friday.
Misbah-ul-Haq`s men are determined to replicate the success of their predecessors under Imran Khan who won the tournament Down Under in 1992 -- and their paths bear an uncanny similarity.
Imran`s team won just one of their first five matches but bounced back to win the next five, including the final against England by 22 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
This time, Pakistan lost their opening two games against arch-rivals India and the West Indies before resurrecting their campaign with four straight wins to make the knock-out rounds.
On the way, they triumphed over mighty South Africa at Auckland, bowling AB de Villiers` side for 202 after being dismissed for 222.
As Pakistan prepared to face their biggest challenge in the tournament -- playing Australia on their own turf -- Misbah hoped the momentum gained over the past two weeks will see Pakistan through.
"We are bowling well and the batting too is coming good," he said. "We need to keep the momentum going. Just need to play well on the day."
Pakistan have lost nine of their last 10 one-dayers to Australia on Australian grounds, including the last seven in a row.
But Misbah will be heartened by Pakistan`s gutsy display against the Aussies in World Cup matches, where both sides have won four matches each in eight encounters.
In the last World Cup in 2011, Pakistan beat Australia by four wickets in Colombo, making veteran all-rounder Shane Watson wary of what awaited his team on Friday.
"We know this is a danger game for us because they (Pakistan) can come on and just turn it on like they have throughout the times I`ve played them in the past," said Watson.
Pakistan, already without key players Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan, suffered a major blow on Tuesday when giant fast bowler Mohammad Irfan was ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a stress fracture in the hip.
Irfan, at seven-feet one inch the tallest man to play international cricket, took eight wickets in five matches to back up fellow fast bowlers Wahab Riaz`s tally of 14 and Sohail Khan`s 11.
Meanwhile, four-time champions Australia have recovered well from a mixed start to live up to their billing as one of the pre-tournament favourites.
Having thrashed old foes England by 111 runs at the MCG in their opening match, Australia were forced to share points with Bangladesh in a Brisbane wash-out, before a spectacular batting collapse saw them lose to New Zealand in Auckland.
In good batting conditions, Australia were shot out for 151 and only a six-wicket haul from Mitchell Starc helped them stretch New Zealand in the one-wicket win.
In their other game against a major side, Australia rode on a Glenn Maxwell century to pile up 376 for nine against Sri Lanka in Sydney before quashing a spirited reply to win by 64 runs.
Coach Darren Lehmann said the time to build on the progress so far had come.
"There will be no excuses for us from here," Lehmann wrote on Cricket Australia`s official cricket.com.au website.
"We just need to keep playing the brand of cricket we have been for most of this tournament and, to be fair, for most of this summer as well.
"It`s really just about keeping the players sharp and on the ball and that`s something they have shown they are fantastic at.
"They are a great bunch of learners and listeners who are always trying to improve their game."