- Get off Misbah’s back – Pakistan’s commander in chief hasn’t exactly enjoyed an easy ride in the job, with #misbahsfualt frequently trending on twitter. While I’m sure much of it is in good humour, the constant negative media and supporter attention must be having a detrimental effect on him and his team. If Pakistan are to overcome a rampant and much fancied Australia side, they will need their skipper to have a free reign.
- See off Starc first up – Starc was the leading wicket-taker in the pool stages, and has been in devastating form for the past year in white ball cricket. If Pakistan’s fragile batting line-up is going to be able to chase or set up a substantial total, then their ability to see off Starc is crucial. It may be worth applying the breaks early in the innings, in the hope of allow the lower order to cash in later on, when Starc may have fewer overs left.
- Use the crowd – Having said that, Pakistan cannot afford a timid start to the quarterfinal. If they can make a decent start, Australia’s home advantage could start to work against them. The Adelaide Oval will be home to a partisan, but expectant Aussie crowd, if their side falls behind the eight ball early, Michael Clarke and his men will feel the huge weight of expectation. Now we are into the knockout stages, Australia will feel the pressure every step of the way.
- Hope Sarfaz can continue his form – If Paksitan are to get off to a good start with the bat, and get the crowd restless, then a lot will rest with Sarfaz Ahmed. The wicketkeeper was only brought into the side for the final two pool games against Ireland and South Africa. His hundred against Ireland and run a ball 49 have shown that he has the capacity to lead the charge for Pakistan. A few runs from him, and Pakistan will have gone a long way to neutralising Australia’s threat.
- Embrace their unpredictability – It’s an often-used line that Pakistan are the most unpredictable side in world cricket. While this is usually meant as a criticism or critique of their style of play, it could play right into their hands on this occasion. Australia are well drilled and a little regimented at times. Maxwell aside, their batting is quite conventional and have predetermined ideas of their approach to batting. Pakistan’s mercurial talents could just catch the hosts off guard.