Resurgent Pakistan look to upset mighty Australia at home

Resurgent Pakistan look to upset mighty Australia at home

A resurgent Pakistan would look to carry forward the momentum when they take on formidable hosts Australia in the third quarterfinal of the cricket World Cup, here tomorrow.

On the back of four victories in a row, including one against the mighty South African side, Pakistan recovered from two defeats to make the knockout stage.
Misbah-ul-haq has played a pivotal role in their resurrection with his superlative batting effort and the skipper now has the biggest challenge of the tournament before him as they run into host Australia, whom they have not beaten in their own den since their win at Perth in 2005.

Odds are heavily stacked against the Asian nation as they have lost their last seven away matches against Australia. However, Pakistan being an unpredictable side can upset the Australia applecart if their bowlers do the job.

In the eight World Cup encounters, the two teams have won four matches each and in the last contest it was Pakistan which emerged triumphant in Colombo in the 2011 edition.

Losing the tall left-am paceman Mohammed Irfan to a hip injury was not an ideal proposition going into the crucial clash and Misbah would expect Wahab Riaz and Sohail Khan to come up firing on all cylinders.

Pakistan would also look upto wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed, who scored a century in the must-win pool game against Ireland, to continue his good work at the top of the order.

Misbah said his players were in good frame of mind ahead of the clash.
"I think four straight wins gives you a lot of confidence as a playing unit, the mindset is good and the momentum is with us and this is the best time to play against such a good team because we are also in a good frame of mind," Misbah said. 

"Everyone is calling them favourites and if any other team beat them then it's called an upset, so for us if we can do that then it's very good for Pakistan cricket," the Pakistan captain said.

History favours four-time champions Australia but their campaign in the tournament has been a mixed one so far. Against England and Sri Lanka they were dominant in their wins but against co-hosts New Zealand, they suffered a stunning batting collapse and lost the match by one wicket.

Australia coach Darren Lehmann hoped that the players would put up a better show as the big stage has arrived.

"There will be no excuses for us from here. We just need to keep playing the brand of cricket we have been for most of this tournament. It's really just about keeping the players sharp and on the ball and that's something they have shown they are fantastic at," Lehmann said.

"They are a great bunch of learners and listeners who are always trying to improve their game," he added.

Australia: Michael Clarke (C), George Bailey, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner and Shane Watson.

Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (C), Ahmed Shehzad, Ehsan Adil, Haris Sohail, Nasir Jamshed, Rahat Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood, Sohail Khan, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, and Younis Khan.
Match starts at 9:00am IST.

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