Australia were considered the favourites heading into the World T20 2014 in Bangladesh. But an opening match loss to Pakistan has put them in a dicey situation. West Indies, the defending champions, have been far from their best so far in this tournament, losing comprehensively to India, before bouncing back with a decent win over Bangladesh.
[Read the Australia vs West Indies report HERE]
Come Friday afternoon in Mirpur, both teams will know another game in the loss column and they could be headed back home early thanks to a highly competitive Group 2.
"Sometimes [knowing you need a win] can relieve the pressure because you know where you stand now," Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin said. "There is no second chance for us. We have got to make sure that we bring our A game and deliver under pressure. We have done that well over the last four months and I see no reason why we can't continue with that."
T20 is such a leveller that any team on their day can pull off an upset. The Netherlands nearly bounced South Africa, before some last-minute pressure bowling saw the Proteas escape by the skin of their teeth.
In Group 2, easily the more tougher of the two groups, Pakistan have shown both sides, one where nothing seems to go right, when they lost against India seven days ago, and the other when they can explode into action at the drop of a hat and blow teams away, like they did against Australia.
India have looked as strong as any team in this year's World T20, and sit pretty at the top of the table, leaving the West Indies and Australia to force the pace in their Group. A big win will be welcomed to boost the net run rate, but Australia, in particular, will just be happy to add their first W in this tournament.
"In such a short tournament like this you probably expect to be in this kind of situation at some point," Australia opener Aaron Finch said. "I guess it's not ideal to be in it after the first game but there is not a real lot we can do.
"We have to win three out of three. You can't do that if you sit back and let the game dictate to you. I think you are going to see the team really take on the opposition and give it a serious crack."
West Indies are probably at their best when teams have a "serious crack." You ask the likes of Chris Gayle to smash the ball out of the park at every opportunity knowing they need just that, then Australia could run into a lot of trouble, which in turn makes the contest more interesting.
Gayle has been subdued in his two games of the World T20, albeit due to a planned strategy, and either the left-hander will break free and hit those monster sixes at will, or Australia will, hopefully for them, run into a cold Gaylestorm.
Where to Watch Live:
World T20 2014: Australia vs West Indies TV and Live Streaming Information (Match starts 3.30 pm local time, 3 pm IST, 9.30 am GMT, 5.30 am ET)
|India||Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD1|
|US and Latin America||ESPN|
|UK and Ireland||Sky Sports|
|Middle East and North Africa||OSN Sport Cricket|
|Sub Saharan Africa & South Africa||SuperSport|
|New Zealand||Sky Sport|
|Pakistan||PTV and Ten Sports|
|Bangladesh||Bangladesh TV, Maasranga TV and Gazi TV|
|Country||Live Streaming links|
|Canada||HERE or HERE|
|South Africa & Sub Saharan Africa||HERE|
|Pakistan||HERE or HERE|
"I think we have seen over T20 cricket for a long time that Chris Gayle is one of the most destructive batsmen along with Shane Watson in this form of the game," Haddin added. "The earlier you get guys like that, the longer you go in terms of winning the game. It's important that we get him early and it's no different with any stroke-maker with that sort of power in the batting lineup."
Spin could very well be the deciding factor on the turn Shere Bangla National Stadium track, and West Indies definitely hold the upper hand in that department, courtesy the guiles of Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree.
"It will be a good contest," West Indies skipper Darren Sammy said. "Badree and Narine are one and two in the world in T20 cricket at the moment and Badree has been getting wickets upfront for us in the first six overs. It is something we are hoping he will continue doing."
Team news: Australia: James Faulkner is expected to return to the side after seemingly recovering from the knee injury which kept him out of the game against Pakistan. Brad Hogg was not exactly impressive in the first game, and could possibly make way for James Muirhead, the leg-spinner who likes to tweak the ball a fair bit.
West Indies: Gayle is reportedly suffering from an ankle problem, but Sammy insisted the big left-hander would not miss the big game against the Aussies. After their win over Bangladesh, WI are unlikely to make any changes unless enforced due to injuries.
Key men: Australia: Faulkner's return will be a huge boost for Australia, who will relish the left-armer's ability with the ball, and batting prowess in the lower middle order.
West Indies: Dwayne Smith showed his importance in the WI lineup against Bangladesh, and the opener's form will be even more important, if Gayle's struggles continue. Also Sunil Narine hasn't caught fire in the World T20 yet, so the spinner might be determined to make his mark on Friday.
Expected lineups: Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey (capt), Brad Hodge, Brad Haddin, James Faulkner, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Starc, James Muirhead.
West Indies: Dwayne Smith, Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Darren Sammy (capt), Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree, Krishmar Santokie.