ADELAIDE: Australian all-rounder Shane Watson expects Pakistan to come out firing in Friday’s World Cup quarter-final, saying a knock-out situation usually brought out the best in them.
“They can play some incredible cricket, as they have in times I have played against them, but they also can self-destruct quite quickly as well,” Watson told reporters at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday.
“That is the reason why Pakistan are so dangerous especially in a knock-out game like this quarter-final.
“They have certainly got some match-winners. Once this Pakistan team gets on a roll, they are able to use that momentum to be able to shut down teams very quickly.”
Watson, at 33 one of the senior-most Australian players, hoped his team can see off Pakistan in front of their home supporters and move into the semi-final against either defending champions India or Bangladesh in Sydney on March 26.
“We know this is a danger game for us because they (Pakistan) can come on and just turn it on like they have throughout the times I ve played them in the past.
“We know we have to be at our absolute best and not give them a chance to be able to get that momentum. We know if they re able to get that they can run away with it very quickly.”
The unpredictable Pakistanis bounced back after losing the first two games against India and the West Indies in the league to win the next four.
Pakistan, champions in 1992 when the World Cup was last played Down Under, beat Australia by four wickets in Colombo during the last edition in 2011, a match Watson did not want to be reminded of.
“I try to forget that one because we lost it,” he said.
“We knew that was a really important game because if we lost against them we were going to have to play India in the quarter-final, which we knew was going to be a big challenge on their home turf.
“And it worked out that way. I ve got some good memories but also some bad memories that I try to forget as quick as I can. That was one.”
The Australian selectors were slammed for dropping Watson, a veteran of 184 one-day internationals, midway through this tournament before reinstating him for the next game.
Watson, who had made 0 and 23 in the first two games, hit back with 67 on his return against Sri Lanka in Sydney and is now resigned to batting at five or six instead of his normal number three spot.
“If I am playing, it will be in the middle-order I think,” he said. “It seems my role has changed the last couple of games which is absolutely fine. I totally understand where I sit within the team.”
Watson admitted he had feared being left out for the rest of the tournament after being dropped for the match against Afghanistan in Perth, but has been amazed by the sudden turnaround.
“I was not expecting to play in the tournament after being dropped for the Afghanistan game,” he said. “So it s amazing how things can turn around even quicker than I thought they would.
“I am just lucky the opportunity came around against Sri Lanka and everything I had been working on came together very much in that innings.”
Watson has scored 5,592 runs and claimed 166 wickets with his right-arm seam bowling in 184 one-day appearances since 2002.