ICC Champions Trophy: Group stage game not relevant in final, says Kohli

Virat Kohli insisted that the Men in Blue were neither too intimidated, nor were too arrogant about their performance in the tournament.

London: It was only on June 4 that India launched their Champions Trophy title defence with a thumping 124-run win over Pakistan at Edgbaston. But skipper Virat Kohli feels that the Group Stage game will not have any relevance in what he expects to be a very exciting summit clash against the arch-rival at The Oval.

"I don't see any relevance of the first game here because you can never tell how a particular team starts a tournament. Some teams start very confidently and then they fade off. Some teams might not have the best starts and come back amazingly, which Pakistan have done," Kohli said on the eve of the much-anticipated, high octane clash.

"So everyone is aware of the talent they have in their team. On their day, they can beat any side in the world," he added.

The swashbuckling Indian batsman further insisted that the Men in Blue are neither too intimidated, nor are too arrogant about their performance in the tournament so far.

The Indian team, considered to be one of the favourites to defend the title, have played to their potential in all the games till now, except the one against Sri Lanka, who surprised the Men in Blue in the group stage.

Pakistan, on the other hand, have also lived up to their "unpredictable" standards, with their comprehensive wins over South Africa and Sri Lanka after the first game debacle against Kohli & Co.

On Wednesday they knocked previously unbeaten tournament hosts England out of the competition with a comprehensive eight-wicket win in Cardiff.

And that's why, the 28-year-old India skipper said he was hoping for a very well contested Champions trophy final.

"Both teams obviously want to win the final. They have worked very hard to stand where they are in the final and I'm sure all the players will come out and give their best," he said.

When asked about the preparation and the team's approach about the much-hyped match, Kohli said, "We have not spoken about the game in any different way. We have practiced the same way as we started the day we came here.

Even today's practice was no different. There wasn't any drop of intensity or something extra. There was no over excitement. People were just doing the normal things that they do in any practice session and that's the kind of approach we have following throughout the tournament."

"As I said last time, it's just another game of cricket. Whatever the result, we have to go forward and play more games after. So, the more relaxed you stay in these kinds of situations, it helps you take better decisions when you are composed and calm mentally. We have changed nothing from the day we came here," he added.

Kohli also indicated that he would not be making any change in the Playing XI and would go with the same team that played against Bangladesh in the semi-finals.

The Men in Blue have won all three of their previous matches against Pakistan in the knockout stages of International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments to date and it is but obvious that they would start going into the finals as favourites.

However, the India skipper said they were not looking at past records and would rather focus on putting up a complete performance in the summit showdown.

"As a team, we want to win. We don't want to look at the stats and the history. We don't focus too much on past records," he said.

This will be the fifth time India and Pakistan will have a face off in the Champions Trophy; the record is currently balanced with two victories apiece.

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