Australia v Pakistan, World Cup 2015, 3rd Q-F, Adelaide March 19, 2015

Still have the bowling to trouble Australia - Misbah

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Two days after the cricket world farewelled Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara from ODIs, two Pakistan seniors will begin the final phase - perhaps the final day - of their ODI careers. Misbah-ul-Haq has announced he will play only Tests after the World Cup. Shahid Afridi has said he will also step away from the format in which he made his name, even if at times, retirement has seemed like a state of mind for Afridi, more than a state of being.

They are perhaps contemporary cricket's odd couple; often invoked in the same breath, each is construed to be what the other is not. Yet, as they move to the cusp of retirement together, they will both reflect with pleasure on their careers, and be joined in keeping emotions in check, Misbah said.

"The biggest satisfaction is that we gave everything to our team and country," he said. "Whatever we had, we put our efforts together. This World Cup is still not over, and we'd really like to win tomorrow's game and go further. That's what, you could say, our desire and dream is.

"You just take it as a normal game. Go there and try to hit your basic stride and try to give 100%. That is the only thing you can do. If you just think about this game further than that, you are putting yourself under pressure, and I'm not going to do that, and even Shahid is not going to do that."

As ever, Pakistan's bowling appears to hold the key to their success. Michael Clarke identified the opposition quicks as particularly dangerous to his team's World Cup hopes, and while Misbah agreed - stating Pakistan had a "bowling line up which can really go through any team" even without Mohammad Irfan - he also emphasised the importance of a positive approach.

"I think Australia always just plays aggressive cricket, and if you want to really be up there against them, you also need to play good, aggressive cricket," Misbah said. "If two teams are playing aggressive cricket, you still have a chance. There is still a chance you could win with a defensive approach, but we're looking forward to playing attacking cricket.

"You can't say now Irfan is out of this competition, so we just can't play Australia. We've got other bowlers who are good enough, equally good enough, and they are also performing really well. All three of the seamers are up to the mark - even the fourth one. Yasir Shah is a bowler that can really put pressure on the opposition. So we've still got that sort of team, that sort of talent, that sort of bowling line-up, that could really put Australia under pressure."

As a captain, Misbah has largely veered toward the dependable, rather than the mercurial. He suggested Pakistan's strategy would not radically change, as he used the example of another team's slew of surprise changes as a cautionary tale. "Sometimes as you try to do things the way Sri Lanka tried to do in the quarter-finals yesterday, and they just got trapped into that. So sometimes simple things, basic things if you are doing them right will really help you, especially in crunch situations and matches."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

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