Still flying under the radar, co-hosts and pre-tournament favourites Australia take on Pakistan in a tricky quarterfinal in Adelaide today. Former Australian cricketer Michael Hussey, one of the finest Test batsmen of the recent past, spoke in an interview about his country’s chances, and the pressure of playing at home. Mr Cricket, as he is fondly known, said India has been outstanding at this tournament.

Edited excerpts:

Australia haven’t had the kind of tournament everyone was expecting of them. Do you think they are lacking in momentum going into the quarter final against Pakistan, after the loss to New Zealand?

Quite possibly. That was a big game in foreign conditions and they hadn’t played there (in Auckland, New Zealand) for a while. Despite the loss, I think they got a lot out of that game. There was never really any doubt that they were going to qualify for the quarterfinals. So it was about building momentum and winning matches. I think they have a great team, the guys are playing good cricket and feeling confident. They have so many match-winners in this team and maybe I am a bit biased here, but I hope they can go all the way in this World Cup.

They have a lot of options, in batting, in bowling, all-rounders; they are spoilt for choice really.

They have got to be up there as favourites or co-favourites. But at this stage of the tournament, it is all about the given day now. Pressure plays a big part at this time of the tournament. The team that deals with this pressure element the best will the one to hold aloft the trophy in the end. And any one of these remaining teams can beat anyone on their day. They have to deal with expectations. It is a home World Cup, pressure on the hosts, expectations from the home fans, that’s tough to deal with. I really admire the Indian team from 2011 to be able to do that, win the World Cup in India. That was a fantastic effort. It is not easy and it is not be underestimated.

Has India’s performance so far at this World Cup surprised you?

India have been outstanding. Coming into the tournament, we weren’t quite sure how they would play since they didn’t have a good tour of Australia. Even in the tri-series they didn’t do so well. So I think they have really stepped up and performed brilliantly in the tournament. And the other surprise for me is Bangladesh. They have been fantastic and played some good cricket, challenging teams even when they have lost. So I have enjoyed watching them play.

Australia really haven’t exerted themselves on the World Cup as favourites. Do you think this is the stage they will want to do it, and take the spotlight away from India or New Zealand?

No, I don’t think they will care about this aspect. As long as they win, they won’t care about any of this. At this stage of the tournament, it is only about winning three matches. It doesn’t matter how you do it, comfortably or struggling over the line. It is tough for everyone and all the focus will be on trying to win, because they came into the tournament wanting to win.

Pakistan can be unpredictable opponents. What’s your feeling about Australia’s quarterfinal against them?

Yeah, I think it will be a brilliant match, depending on which Pakistan team turns up. They are unpredictable. They have got so much talent and are starting to play with a bit of confidence. Their batsmen are getting runs and the bowling is doing well. So it is going to be a tough game for Australia. It is a knockout game now, so there will be more pressure on Australia. They will be the favourites in Adelaide, home soil, fans expecting them to win. If Pakistan get their confidence up early in the match, they could be dangerous. The start of the match will be crucial.

Who are your favourites to make the final?

I hate making predictions. I am not very good at them. But obviously I am hoping Australia will get through to the final and win it. I would like to see South Africa making the final, and Australia-South Africa will be a good match. South Africa, if they win their first knock-out and then the semi-final, will be a very confident and dangerous team, completely different to what they are now.