MOHALI: India's heart-stopping escape against Bangladesh leaves Australia likely having to beat the tournament hosts as well as Pakistan to reach the World Twenty20 semi-finals and captain Steve Smith believes they are warming into the tournament at the business end of the Super 10 stage.
The complexion of their group seemed as if it would take a dramatically different appearance with India staring at almost certain elimination in Bangalore before Bangladesh's Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah, needing two runs from the final three balls to win and knock out MS Dhoni's team, went to the air fatefully and were caught with successive deliveries.
India's one-run win over Bangladesh
Bangladesh needed 11 runs off the last over but lost three wickets in just four deliveries. Vision courtesy ABC News 24.
An India defeat, avoided when Dhoni sprinted to the stumps after the final delivery to stop Mustafizur Rahman's dash to take the game to a super over, would have worked in the favour of Australia as well as Pakistan, whose crucial meeting at the Punjab Cricket Association ground on Friday will help determine which of the three teams join New Zealand in the last four.
The Australians would fall a win behind both India and Pakistan with defeat to Shahid Afridi's men and then need to beat India by a significant margin on Sunday to qualify on net run rate.
If they do win Friday's match the India clash will then serve effectively as a play-off for a semi-final, with the victor to go through to play the winner of group one in Mumbai.
Smith wasn't entirely pleased with Australia's own three-wicket win over Bangladesh on Monday but hopes they can peak when it counts.
"I think we're getting a little bit better and I think that's the way you need to play in tournament play," Smith said. "Obviously you need to win your games but you need to improve as you go through and you want to be playing your best cricket at the back end. I think the other night we weren't as clinical as I would have liked us to be. It was a good opportunity for one of the top four to be there at the end and get the side home but the main thing is we're winning and we got there at the end."
Smith left open the prospect of a change to the batting order, and a possible recall for Aaron Finch, on a Mohali wicket which he said looked "probably as close to Australian conditions as you get".
All-rounder James Faulkner did not train on Thursday due to gastro.
Australia (likely): Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, James Faulkner, John Hastings/Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Peter Nevill, Adam Zampa.