As the winning runs came about against Bangladesh in the semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy, India had registered a nine-wicket win but more importantly for the fans, set up a tantalising final against Pakistan on Sunday. The final, to be played at The Oval, will be a repeat of both team’s opening group game where India had emerged winners by a comfortable 124 run margin (D/L method).
Since that disappointing defeat, Pakistan have turned things around to beat South Africa and Sri Lanka to progress into the semi-final. They followed those wins by a staggering defeat of England who had been undefeated up until that stage. That eight-wicket win allowed Pakistan to play the waiting game to see which of their sub-continent rivals they face – India or Bangladesh. And as things transpired, India came out victorious with ease.
India skipper Virat Kohli complimented Pakistan for turning things around in their favour. “Credit to them, they’ve turned around things for themselves really well. They’ve beaten sides that looked really strong against them, but the belief just showed on the field [with] the way they played together as a team,” he said after the win in Edgbaston.What we are going to try to do is repeat the similar sort of cricket that we have played so far, knowing the strengths and weaknesses they have.
Explaining his team’s strategy for the pivotal contest, Kohli said there is little that they need to tinker with. “What we are going to try to do is repeat the similar sort of cricket that we have played so far, knowing the strengths and weaknesses they have. Obviously we’ll have to plan a bit according to that, but I don’t know there’s much that we need to change as a team.”
“I don’t think we need to look too far away from what we are doing as a group, I think focus on our skills and our abilities and believe in ourselves on that particular day, and we’ll give ourselves a good chance to go out there and do some good things for the team.”
Meanwhile Kohli opted to once again play down the hype of the contest which would no doubt draw plenty of attention across the two neighbouring countries. “There are no statements in this game, honestly. No one is a winner beforehand, and you can’t predict anything in this game. Regardless of who you play in the finals, it’s always going to be challenging because once you start thinking that it’s a big game, then your mindset changes. We’ve seen some really surprising results, and it’s been amazing for the fans to watch and for the players to be a part of, as well. We just want to enjoy the final and we deserve to be there. We played some really good cricket. We’re not going to take anything for granted for sure. It doesn’t matter whether we win by nine wickets, or we win by one wicket. We’re just going to go there and try to do the same things again and again. Be bowling as a team, and hopefully the results will come,” he stated.