India bulldozed Pakistan in their opening match of the World Cup and haven't looked back, winning seven matches through to the semifinals.
On Friday, Pakistan, boasting of two- and-a-half batsmen gave Australia the scare of their lives, that too defending a paltry total of 213. So by simple deduction, Thursday's semi-final between India and Australia will be very different from whatever they faced throughout the Australian summer.
The disappointment in Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq's voice was evident but he said India in Sydney would be a different proposition for Australia. "I think they would miss a good spinner in Sydney. That could be the difference because in the past games when we played against England there, spinners got success and Imran Tahir got some wickets against Sri Lanka. So, that could be a problem for Australia. And also, they could be in trouble batting against spin there because both the Indian spinners are in good form," Misbah said.
No big turn
Australia skipper Michael Clarke obviously did not agree. "I don't think a ball spun in the game we played against Sri Lanka. I think it'll depend on what wicket gets prepared. If it does spin, we've got options. We have Xavier Doherty in the squad. There is Glenn Maxwell, who picked up a couple of wickets tonight. Hopefully, I can bowl a few overs and we've got Steve Smith as well," Clarke said.
But the Aussie skipper believed that the India side that would turn up in Sydney would be completely different from the one that played the tri-series. "They've worked out the conditions having spent so much time here. I think MS Dhoni deserves a lot of credit the way he's been able to turn things around as the leader. They're playing some really good cricket. We look forward to that challenge. Thursday becomes our World Cup final. We look forward to it," Clarke said.
"India are a completely different opposition to Pakistan. They have different strengths, different weaknesses. So, we need to assess them. They're obviously playing a lot better than they were throughout the start of the summer. I said that leading into the World Cup, that I thought India were going to be extremely tough to beat just because they're a very good team and have spent so much time in Australia. The game on Thursday is going to certainly be a challenge, and we're definitely going to have to be at our best to beat them," Clarke said.