T20 World Cup: Favourites Pakistan take on Australia in semi-final clash
Pakistan are the only unbeaten side in the T20 World Cup
Babar Azam is the tournament's leading run-scorer, with 264 from 5 games
David Warner has found form at the right time, scoring fifties in his last two matches
Despite being favourites to win their second T20 World Cup, Pakistan will have to be wary of an Australian side that is discovering form at the right time when the two sides meet in the second semi-final in Dubai on Thursday.
The only unbeaten side in the tournament, Pakistan finished top of Super 12 Group 2 with five wins from five. The Babar Azam-led side broke their World Cup jinx against India to start their campaign with a morale-boosting ten-wicket win over their arch rivals.
The 2009 champions then beat New Zealand and Afghanistan by five wickets each as they shed their ‘unpredictable’ tag to cruise through their toughest tests in the group stage.
Their batting is led by the formidable opening pair of skipper Babar – the tournament’s leading run scorer with 264 runs, including four fifties – and Mohammad Rizwan. They are backed by array of match-winners in the middle order in the form of six-hitting machine Asif Ali and veterans Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez, who all are among the runs.
The only weak link in their batting is Fakhar Zaman, who has failed to perform with the willow so far.
Meanwhile, their potent bowling attack is led by the pace duo of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf, along with spinners Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez and Shadab Khan.
On the other hand, Australia, the 2010 runners-up, are beginning to peak at the right time in their bid to win their only missing title.
Apart from the eight-wicket mauling by England, Aaron Finch and Co. have registered dominant wins which helped them book a semifinal slot ahead of South Africa. Their formidable pace attack has been incisive, and leg spinner Adam Zampa, who has the second most wickets in the tournament, has struck regularly in the middle overs.
The biggest confidence booster for Australia would be David Warner's return to form. The opener entered the tournament on the back of a woeful run in T20s but has brushed that aside with two half-centuries, including an 89 not out in the previous game.
The winner will face New Zealand in the final on November 14.