Adelaide: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq fired the first salvo ahead of his team's World Cup quarter-final match in Adelaide on Friday, saying Australia will be favourites -- but that favourites don't always win.
The odds are in favour of four-time champions and co-hosts Australia, but Pakistan's unpredictable nature and four consecutive wins after a poor start to the tournament make them threatening opponents. "They (Australia) are favourites but there is no hard-and-fast rule that favourites are always going to win the match," said Misbah on Thursday.
Misbah ul Haq. Pic/ AFP
"It's which team performs better on the day, takes their chances and have some luck, they can really defeat any team," he added. "We are positive and hopeful. I think we've got a bowling line-up which can go through any (batting) line-up." Misbah insisted his side were not daunted by playing Australia, saying teams that wanted to win the World Cup had to expect to face major opposition.
"When you have a goal of winning the World Cup, you have to beat any team on the way," said Misbah, who admitted a Pakistan win on Friday would be regarded as an upset. "Australia is tough in home conditions," said Misbah of an Australian side who have only lost once to Pakistan in their last ten home matches.
Pakistan's most recent win against Australia in Australia came in Perth in 2005 and they have lost their last seven one-day internationals away to the Aussies. "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 as well," said Misbah, who said his squad were in upbeat mood after a run of wins that included a victory over highly-fancied South Africa.
"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," said Misbah.
The Adelaide Oval is familiar territory for Pakistan, who lost their World Cup opener to defending champions India at the South Australia ground before defeating Ireland there in the pool phase. "When you are playing more games at a certain venue you tend to adopt the conditions well," said Misbah. "You know the dimensions well, you are used to that atmosphere and that can help you," said Misbah.
The skipper said it was important his side did not take a backward step against Australia. "Australia play aggressive cricket and if you want to be up against them, you also need to play good aggressive cricket." Misbah admitted losing giant paceman Mohammad Irfan to a tournament-ending hip injury had been a big loss.
"Obviously he is a different kind of bowler and his loss is big, but you have to manage things and you can't say that if he is out, we can't play. "We have other good bowlers, the kind of bowlers who can put Australia under pressure."