You never know which Pakistan team will turn up at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 — the good one or the great one.
Babar Azam’s side are consigning to ridicule one of the international game’s most hackneyed cliches — they are no longer unpredictable, but playing great cricket, game in and game out.
Top spot in Group 2 is just reward for a perfect record of five wins from five in the Super 12 stage, wrapped up thanks to a 72-run victory over Scotland.
This makes them favourites on paper to lift the trophy in Dubai next Sunday as the only unbeaten team in the tournament.
Standing in their way in the semi-finals will be Australia — who they have beaten in 12 of their 23 T20I meetings — and their plans to spring a surprise and reach their second-ever final.
There will be intriguing match-ups all over the field on Thursday.
Shaheen Shah Afridi and Imad Wasim give Pakistan the left-arm angle to challenge Aaron Finch in the powerplay, while the return to form of David Warner may be more of a concern.
The key to the game lies in whether Australia can separate Babar and Mohammad Rizwan, the most prolific partnership in the competition, early on.
If either Josh Hazlewood or Mitchell…