Mohali: Australia will have to play better cricket than what they have managed to do so far in the World T20 to have a shot at reaching the semifinals, captain Steve Smith said on Thursday.
Australia suffered a batting collapse in their loss to New Zealand before they huffed and puffed to beat Bangladesh by three wickets in their second match.
"We have to play a bit better than we have been in our first two games. We have not been at our 100 percent yet and that could work for us. You don't want to be playing your best cricket at the start of the tournament. We are next playing two quality opposition in India and Pakistan and we have to beat both of them to qualify. As simple as that," Smith said on the eve of their match against Pakistan on Friday.
Asked if the team was feeling extra pressure ahead of their must-win match, Smith said, "Well, there is always pressure in a tournament like this. We are excited about the challenge.
"As I said it will be tough beat two top sides like Pakistan and India. The conditions here (Mohali) are as closer as you can get in India and hopefully we can make use of that," said the Australian skipper.
Smith is banking on rookie leg-spinner Adam Zampa to deliver the goods against Pakistan after his three-wicket haul against Bangladesh. He said it's always good to have a leg-spinner in the side.
"I think they (leg-spinners) have a bit of variation. If you miss the middle of the bat, you quite often end up getting a wicket. You see a lot of batsmen getting caught on the fence (off leg-spinner). The variation a leg spinner brings creates those chances. They have done well traditionally in T20 cricket and I am very proud of the way Adam Zampa has bowled for us. Hopefully we can see more of that.
"I certainly think he can be a threat for tomorrow. He has got good skills, reads the batsmen really well. We will just wait and see what the wicket has to offer. I certainly feel he can play a big part," said Smith.
Smith also compared the ground in Mohali to the massive MCG in Melbourne, saying the conditions will suit the Australians.
He has also picked Shane Watson's brain on some of the Pakistani players as the all-rounder was part of the Pakistan Super League.
"We had a meeting yesterday. We got a fair bit of inside intel on some of their players. It was nice to get some of his (Watson's) thoughts. As I said, they (Pakistan and India) are both very tough sides. We saw India scrape their way out of a difficult situation which they do so well in these conditions.
Pakistan is a quality outfit as well," Smith said.
Australia have been the most successful team in the 50-over World Cup but are yet to win the T20 showpiece event.
Smith tried his best to analyse that record.
"I guess you have to ask the teams who have won it. From my point of view, it is a very tough game. It is a fickle format. One player can win you the game. It is a tough one and I believe the squad we got here, we are going to play our best cricket in the next two games and anything can happen in semis and final. We are excited," he said.