Pakistan's captain says all the pressure is on Australia ahead of their quarter-final clash on Friday.
Australia's Cricket World Cup quarter-final against Pakistan doesn't start until Friday, but the verbal battle has already begun. The opening salvo didn't come from David Warner or any of his teammates, but Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq. Misbah was typically soft-spoken after his side booked a spot in the knockout phase with a seven-wicket win over Ireland at Adelaide Oval.
The exception was when the 40-year-old made an effort to declare where the weight of expectation laid.
They are the favourites. They are playing in their own conditions, so the pressure will be on them
"It's always difficult, especially if you are playing against a team which is having no pressure. We have nothing to lose. Of course we can beat Australia, why not? One good spell, one good innings could change the course of a game. We've got those sort of bowlers, we've got some sort of players that could just do it for Pakistan."
Pakistan were beaten 3-0 in their one-day series against Australia last October in the United Arab Emirates, but dominated the tourists in the following two-Test series. "Yeah, that's another different thing. But it's a totally different ball game," Misbah said, when asked if his team would draw confidence from the red-ball wallopings they dished out.
Misbah equalled Sir Viv Richards' record for the fastest Test hundred in that series, reaching three figures off 56 balls. Younis Khan also scored a mountain of runs in that series, enjoying knocks of 106, 103* and 213 against an ineffectual Australian attack. Khan was dropped for Pakistan's final World Cup pool fixture, but Misbah noted a recall was not out of the question.
"We'll just sit together and see what combination suits us, what is better for us in the coming game," he said. "That was a hard decision ... he's still in good shape. He's still in good confidence." Towering paceman Mohammad Irfan, who missed the clash with Ireland due to a quad injury, could also be back for Pakistan. "We are hopeful that he will be ok for the quarter-final," Misbah said.
Ireland captain William Porterfield suggested Pakistan were "definitely" capable of knocking off title favourites Australia. "Pakistan have won four in a row now, so they've got a bit of momentum. They've got confidence," Porterfield said.
Source - Cricket Australia