St Lucia: After their miraculous entry into the last four stage, defending champions Pakistan face the uphill task of halting the Australian juggernaut in the second semifinal of the ICC World Twenty20 here.
Pakistan were pushed to the brink after their one-run defeat to New Zealand in their second Super Eight match but Shahid Afridi's men bounced back to beat South Africa and with a stroke of luck sneaked into the semifinals.
Australia, on the other hand, have crushed whosoever have come under their wheels and remains unbeaten in the tournament so far but that reputation won't count when they take on an enigmatic Pakistan.
For Australia, their battery of lethal fast bowlers have knocked the stuffing out of the opponent batsman, While Pakistan have an array of spinners who have dominated on the slow wickets here.
Shaun Tait, who has been consistently generating speeds of over 145-150 kmph, and Dirk Nannes have been devastating as a fast bowling pair, as much as Shane Watson and David Warner have been with the bat for Australia and they will hold the key to Australia's success.
For Pakistan, their spinners Abdur Rehman and Saeed Ajmal - could pose many questions to the free-scoring Aussie batsmen on this deck and it will be interesting to watch who calls the shots in this crucial game.
Will it be the Aussies pacemen or the Pakistani spinners? On a man-to-man basis, Australia are a superior lot. They can bat right up to number nine, which is something Pakistan lack.
Their fielding too has been outstanding, something which Shahid Afridi's men can't match. Given the depth and fire power in his side, Michael Clarke is confident of playing the final at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on May 16.
Clarke was wary of the defending champions and said they have to be at their best to beat Pakistan.
His counterpart, Afridi held Australia in high esteem but was confident that Pakistan would make it to the summit clash.
"Australia have now learnt how to play T20 cricket. They have a strong batting and bowling line-up. As we have played them at this ground in the first round, weknow the areas where Shane Watson and David Warner play their shots. We have plans for them," said Afridi.
"We will play to our strengths. We have three genuine spinners who could use the conditions here very well. Abdur Rehman and Saeed Ajmal have been bowling well. We are confident that they will perform in this crucial game," added Afridi.
Afridi took comfort from the fact that Pakistan were in a similar position last year from where they went on to win the coveted title in England.
Australia They will be played with same XI.
Squad from Michael Clarke (C), David Warner, Brad Haddin (WK), Nathan Hauritz, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Dirk Nannes, Tim Paine (WK), Steven Smith, Shaun Tait, Daniel Christian, Shane Watson, Cameron White, Ryan Harri
Pakistan, in contrast, need to answer a number of questions. How long to persist with Misbah-ul-Haq, scorer of 68 runs and holder of a sub-100 strike rate
Squad from Shahid Afridi (C), Khalid Latif, Misbah-ul-Haq, Fawad Alam, Umar Akmal, Salman Butt, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal (WK), Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamer, Saeed Ajmal, Hammad Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Sami, Abdur Rehman
Pitch and conditions
Pakistan would prefer to play Australia at St Lucia rather than Barbados, but given how they were hit in the group game earlier at the same venue, they face the deep blue sea rather than the devil. The surface is slower, enough to help Pakistan's spinners, but not enough to neuter Australia's pace.
Stats and trivia
Friday May 14, 2010
Start time 11:30 local (15:30 GMT)