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Will Shahid Afridi go ‘Boom Boom’ against Adam Zampa? © Getty Images

Every time Pakistan takes on Australia in a World T20 event, it takes us down memory lane. It reminds us of Michael Hussey’s heroics in the semi-finals of ICC World T20 2010. Pakistan were cruising well ahead of Australia and were on the verge of booking a berth in the finals of World T20 for the third time in a row. But Hussey was in a different space altogether. He played a superlative 24-ball 60, studded with 6 sixes and 3 fours, that helped Australia register a place in the finals of World T20 for the first time by chasing a mammoth 192-run total. FULL SCORECARD: Pakistan vs Australia, Live Score, Match 26, Super 10 Group 2

Pakistan’s Akmal brothers plundered a half-century each in the first innings, followed by Mohammad Aamer’s 3-wicket haul in the second innings. Australia-Pakistan clash has always been high-octane, with runs flowing and wickets tumbling in emphatic fashion. Hence, Pakistan-Australia clash on Friday promises to offer similar fireworks. Let’s walk through some of the key battles that are expected to shake the cricket fans:

Mohammad Aamer vs Australian openers: It’s contest between fiery pacers versus belligerent openers. Red-hot Aamer will battle against Australia’s batting might Usman Khawaja and Shane Watson. The conditions in Mohali are not alien to both these teams: a tinge of grass, even bounce and good carry. If pitched in the right area, a wicket will tumble. If carefully watched and crisply timed, run wills flow.

Khawaja has been in a blistering form for the past 6 months and has already plundered 38 and 56 in Australia first two matches in this edition of World T20. He can feed on Aamer’s pace with his elegant strokes. On the other hand, Watson has faced Aamer a couple of times and will try aim the cow corner with his cross-batter shots. ALSO READ: Pakistan vs Australia, T20 World Cup 2016 match at Mohali: Pakistan eye rare victory over misfiring Australians

Aamer did not get his line right in Pakistan’s previous match at Mohali, as he conceded 41 runs without scalping a wicket. However, Australian batsmen are well aware of Aamer’s mettle. Aamer can dismantle the opposition in no time with merciless bowling skills.

Shahid Afridi vs Adam Zampa: We saw shades of vintage Afridi in Pakistan-Bangladesh clash. Afridi’s pinnacle innings of 19-ball 49 is one of the highlights of ICC World T20. Not only did it help Pakistan win but also scaled up the net run-rate well above Australia. Afridi admitted that this might be his last match if Pakistan does not manage to outplay Australia.

Afridi was dismissed by New Zealand leggie Ish Sodhi while clearing the long-off. Considering this, Australia will use the similar tactic to contain the ‘Boom Boom’ onslaught by introducing Zampa against him. Zampa bagged 3 wickets against Bangladesh and is brimming with confidence. Afridi versus Zampa contest will be fascinating to watch out for.

Glenn Maxwell vs Imad Wasim: The ‘Big Show’ from Australia has had a decent start to the tournament, scoring 22 against New Zealand and 26 against Bangladesh. However, a mighty innings is yet to come from Maxwell. Given that Pakistan has not played spinners in the batting power play so far, Maxwell will face Imad Wasim in the middle overs. It’s been a while since we saw Maxwell playing a reverse sweep over deep square leg. It will be a challenge for Pakistani spinners to hold back Maxwell’s hostility or pray he plays a rash shot and chips away his wicket.

There will be combats between in-form Sharjeel Khan and Nathan Coulter-Nile, Steven Smith and Mohammad Sami, and James Faulkner and Umar Akmal. Pakistan will be eliminated if they lose to Australia. However, if they win, they will hope Australia to beat India and let the net run-rate decide the fate of qualifying for the semi-finals.

(Kaustubh S. Mayekar, a reporter at CricketCountry, played cricket at U-16 level. Like his idol Rahul Dravid, he often shadow-practises cricket shots. His Twitter handle is @TheCricKnight.)