Australia, Pakistan face off in must-win tie

The contest will pit two limited overs greats, who were on the verge of retirement, against each other. For many years Shahid Afridi and Shane Watson have served the game with distinction and in the last few days of their international careers they will be keen to give their best and help their sides achieve some feat. That will allow them go out from the top level cricket on a high.

World T20 will be the last tournament before retirement for Shane Watson and Shahid Afridi.

Trying to conquer the turmoil within and the turbulence outside, Pakistan wishes to live another day in the World T20.

Shahid Afridi and his men were glued to Wednesday night's live action from Begaluru with a hope that Bangladesh upset India and gave some strength to Pakistan's complex quest for a berth in the semifinals. It was not to be.

Nevertheless, Pakistan has not given up its optimism as yet. It is keen to record a win in its last group match against Australia at the PCA Stadium here on Friday before leaving things to destiny.

Afridi, a Pakistani legend in the limited overs cricket, has announced that he might hang up his bat after the Australia match. Of course, his team will be eager to give its flamboyant captain a befitting farewell. Afridi's journey beyond Friday, in case Pakistan makes it to the knockout stage, will be even more fulfilling for the dashing entertainer and his side.

Below-par batting

Barring its 200-plus total against Bangladesh, Pakistan suffered against India and New Zealand primarily due to its below-par showing with the bat. Especially, the poor finishing, following a bright start provided by Sharjeel Khan, against New Zealand hurt the side the most.

With the reliable Mohammad Hafeez still doubtful because of his painful knee, the team needs the likes of Afridi, >Shoaib Malik, Ahmed Shehzad and >Umar Akmal to take more responsibility and finish their innings strongly.

Pakistan's bowling, depending heavily on its pacers Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Sami and Wahab Riaz, has been doing a decent job. The availability of Riaz, who missed the last match due to a minor injury, and the good showing of left-arm spinner Imad Wasim will encourage the team to do it for Afridi.

Last hurrah?

While Pakistan wants to make Afridi's last hurrah a memorable affair, Australia has to do it for Shane Watson. With the long-serving towering pacer-cum-top-order-batsman announcing his retirement from international cricket at the conclusion of the World T20, Australia, a five-time World Cup winner which is yet to bag a World T20 crown, will have more reasons than one to aim for the title.

However, Australia, which lost to New Zealand and managed a hard-fought win against Bangladesh, is faced with the arduous task of taking on two Asian giants, Pakistan and India, in its remaining group matches.

On a pitch promising high scores and a bit of help for the bowlers, the Aussies will be cautious of Pakistan's unpredictability. It will also take care to tie up loose ends.

Australia has got depth in its batting, led by prolific opener >Usman Khawaja. It will love to see Steve Smith, Watson, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh live up to the expectation.

Competent all-rounders in Watson, Marsh, Maxwell and James Faulkner give Australia balance and offer options in bowling. Pacer >Nathan Coulter-Nile's economical effort and leg-spinner Adam Zampa's good form should provide the side confidence.

The contest between two capable sides promises some intense action.

The teams (from):

Australia: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill, Andrew Tye, Shane Watson, Adam Zampa

Pakistan: Shahid Afridi (captain), Anwar Ali, Imad Wasim, Khalid Latif, Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Sami, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Sharjeel Khan, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz

- Head to head (Australia vs Pakistan):

- Total: 13, Pakistan: 7, Australia: 5, Tied: 1.

- The met department is predicting a sunny afternoon and cloudy evening, the weather should be ideal to enjoy cricket.

- Following the New Zealand-Pakistan encounter, another high scoring match is on the cards between Australia and Pakistan.

- The two teams met each other last time in a one-off T20 match in UAE in October 2014 and Australia won the match by six wickets. In World T20 tournaments, Pakistan has won three, while Australia has tasted success in two.

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