Australia have a win and a  loss from their two matches so far in World T20 2016 © Getty Images
Australia have a win and a loss from their two matches so far in World T20 2016 © Getty Images

Australia and Pakistan are in a must-win situation ahead of their Group 2 encounter in the Super 10 stage of ICC World T20 2016. The match is scheduled to be played at Mohali on Friday. Australia have a win and a loss from their two matches so far in the tournament, while Pakistan have won only one game from their two matches. Australia began their World T20 campaign with a defeat at the hands of New Zealand before winning the close clash against Bangladesh. Pakistan defeated Bangladesh and lost the crucial match to their arch rivals India at Eden Gardens and faced another defeat in their previous match against New Zealand, the side that is on the top of Group 2 with no loss after playing three matches. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan vs Australia, Match 26, Super 10 stage, ICC World T20 2016 at Mohali

Australia picked John Hastings against Bangladesh by dropping Ashton Agar which turned out to be a good decision for Steven Smith. Agar, who made his World T20 debut in Australia’s opening match leaked 18 runs in his first over against the Black Caps was removed, and was not given an over for the remainder of the match. With Hastings in, Australia finally found a stable playing XI, when they faced Bangladesh in Bengaluru a couple of days back and it is highly likely skipper Smith will want to go with the same side in the all-important encounter against Pakistan.

Top-Order: Ever since David Warner has been pushed down the order keeping in mind the left and right combination, Usman Khawaja, Shane Watson and Smith fill in the top three spots of their line-up. While Khawaja and Watson found some form in the Bangladesh clash, Smith is yet to contribute with the bat. Australia’s batting worries continue until Smith gets back to his  form in the T20Is. Out of his 23 T20I innings, he has just one fifty and the best knock in his last six innings was 44 with two knocks being in single digits and three below 30.

Smith is one of their most experienced players in the side and adding to it his captaincy, it is crucial for Smith to perform. Australia cannot go ahead in the World T20 unless Smith starts to score again. Watson, who announced his international retirement on Thursday, might just play his last T20I for Australia on Sunday against India if his side loses the match against Pakistan. While Watson will aim to make his final few matches memorable, the entire  squad will also look forward in doing so. READ: Pakistan vs Australia, T20 World Cup 2016 match at Mohali: Pakistan eye rare victory over misfiring Australians

Middle-Order: Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh fall next in the batting line-up. The left and right combination between Warner and Maxwell has been paying off for Australia, which is why World No. 1 T20I batsman Aaron Finch is being ignored for World T20. Even in match against Bangladesh , when the openers were sent back to the dugout and Smith was seen to have failed yet again, it was the duo of Warner and Maxwell, who took charge of Australia’s innings. Although they did not stay till the end, their respective strike-rates of 188.88 and 173.33 did the job for Australia.

James Faulkner’s usual position of No.7 will not be disturbed. He has done it in the past, he can do it, finish the game for Australia by pulling it off wins even from the most difficult of situations. However, World T20 2016 has not witnessed the best of Faulkner. Even during the opening match, had Faulkner stayed till the end, New Zealand could just have faced their first defeat of the tournament.

Lower-Order: Adam Zampa’s spell did wonders for Australia in their win over Bangladesh and has been the most pivotal role for Australia. Spinners rule in Indian conditions and Australia have been in find of one for a very long time. Maxwell has been their best bet so far before, Zampa finally proved his worth on the Indian conditions. He picked three wickets giving just 23 runs in his 4 overs in the last match. Australia surely needs the youngster to replicate that spell against Pakistan.

Fighting injuries, Hastings has, made his way into the side. Although he failed to make any breakthrough, he was economical which was good enough while the other bowlers picked wickets. Watson’s consistent good spells and regular picking of wickets has so far taken off pressure from the Australian attack. Watson made a 15-ball 21 against Bangladesh, also claiming two scalps in the match. Nathan Coulter-Nile who has taken the place of Mitchell Starc’s  in the side,will surely lead the pace attack and  retain his place in the squad. With these combinations having worked for the side so far, it is still unlikely for Josh Hazlewood getting an opportunity.

Australia’s likely XI: Usman Khawaja, Shane Watson, Steven Smith (c), David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, James Faulkner, Peter Nevill (wk), John Hastings, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa

(Sakshi Gupta, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a sports fanatic whose mantra in life is “do only what you enjoy.” Her Twitter handle is @sakshi2929)