Adelaide: After overpowering Pakistan in the quarter-finals of the cricket World Cup on Friday, Australian skipper Michael Clarke said the semi-final against India would be a tough challenge. India on Thursday beat Bangladesh by 109 runs and now face Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in the second semi-final on March 26.
Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony Clarke said: “They (India) are in good form, they are playing really well. MS (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni is leading them very well. It’s certainly going to be a tough challenge. We have to be at our best.”
On Friday, Pakistan were bowled out for a paltry total of 213 runs at the Adelaide Oval. Australia were pegged back early in their innings. But they came back well to clinch the match with six wickets and 97 balls to spare.
The skipper credited his side for pulling off the win but also praised Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz’s effort of putting the co-hosts under pressure. “I am extremely happy. A really close game in the end. I thought our bowlers did a really fantastic job once again tonight,” the 33-year-old said.
“Our fielding was excellent and then credit to Pakistan and Wahab Riaz. The way he came out and bowled, certainly put us under pressure. I think that’s as fast a spell as I’ve seen in a long time,” he said. Clarke said they will be treating the semi-final just as any other game as setting the bar too high can result in excessive pressure.
“I’ve spoken a lot to the team about not setting the bar too high and not putting the World Cup on a pedestal. Because sometimes when you build something up so much, it’s really hard to grab, really hard to win. So I think for us, it’s about preparation as always.
“Every time you walk out to bat or bowl for Australia you want to do your best and this game will be no different. The players will prepare well and we’ll go, enjoy and play another great game for Australia,” said Clarke.