Forget group win over Pakistan, Kohli warns before final

Hero Hockey World League Semi-Final: Canada thrash Pakistan; Argentina defeat Malaysia

Hero Hockey World League Semi-Final: Canada thrash Pakistan; Argentina defeat Malaysia

This is India, though, and Pakistan will have to banish the demons of defeats past: in the last six matches in ICC events, it is India which has triumphed.

Virat Kohli's knack of dealing with the expectations of 600 million cricket-crazy India supporters will be put to the test as never before in the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan. The defending champions so far have won three games out of the four and will now meet rivals Pakistan in the final on Sunday. But not only have Pakistan, the lowest ranked team in a tournament featuring the world's top eight one-day global sides, always been regarded as world cricket's most "unpredictable" outfit, they have lost all three of their previous knockout matches against India at worldwide Cricket Council tournaments. "So, it's basically how to react to every ball that's bowled to you", he said.

Asked how he prioritized before a big game, India captain Virat Kohli made it clear he could only speak for himself.

If Fakhar gets out early, Azhar should take the charge and focus on minimizing the dot balls, Pakistani batsmen need to remember that strike-rotation is as important as hitting boundaries in an ODI. Its top-order is in great nick and it has a powerful trio of MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Hardik Pandya in the middle-order.

With Amir back in harness, Pakistan will focus on their seam-bowling strength and try to expose an India middle order which has barely been needed while those further up the list have been piling up runs at an average of nearly 100 per wicket throughout. Fakhar Zaman finds the boundaries easily, while Azhar Ali stays strong, putting any bad ball away.

The 23-year-old has been central to Pakistan's progress since a woeful 124-run defeat by India in their tournament opener at Edgbaston on June 4 and heads into Sunday's final at the Oval as the 2017 edition's leading wicket-taker with 10 at an average of just 17.20 apiece. However, once Zaman falls, to a brilliant delivery from R Ashwin, the chase goes off course. Shoaib Malik tries to keep Pakistan's hopes alive along with captain Sarfraz Ahmed, but once that partnership is broken, India scythe through the rest of the batting lineup to retain their title.

Arthur confirmed Saturday that Mohammad Amir, who missed the semi-final with a back spasm, would return against India. For passionate fans of both countries it can't get any bigger than this.

However, it won't be a walk in the park for Pakistan.

Former cricketers from both Pakistan and India took to Twitter to support their former teams. But throw in Kohli's phenomenal batting and you have a legendary player.

Former Australia left-hander Michael Hussey feels that although India are hot favourites to retain the ICC Champions Trophy, Pakistan can not be discounted as they have a feeling of "destiny" with them.

Arthur is confident the India "aberration" is now behind Pakistan, who've also lost all three of their previous knockout matches at International Cricket Council tournaments against their fiercest foes.

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