Forget group win over Pakistan, Kohli warns before final


De Villiers, who is now struggling with a poor run of form despite being at the helm of the number one ODI team, said that Kohli is able to cope with the extreme pressure that comes with being captain of the Indian cricket team.

But since then the Pakistani side have come a long way. Imran tweeted the team a good luck message to his 5.5m followers. They are intimidating opposition bowlers with their class and breathtaking stroke-play. Some teams might not have the best start but they come back amazingly - which Pakistan have done. We dissected India a lot before that game at Edgbaston but we've backtracked a bit on that. Both teams want to win the final. "India refuse to play against us [in Pakistan's adopted home of the United Arab Emirates]".

India, with skipper and star batsman Virat Kohli heading the tournament batting averages with a stratospheric 253, are a formidable outfit. "India have the upper hand in ICC tournaments", he admitted before adding: "But things can change, and this is the time for us to change the tag that we don't perform well at ICC events". The 28-year-old is now arguably peerless against the white ball, becoming in midweek the fastest to 8,000 ODI runs, in 175 innings, to go with his title as the greatest chaser in the game, with a record 17 of his 27 hundreds scored in the second innings of a match.

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"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". This is their fourth trip to the Champions Trophy final, and only the first for Pakistan. They seem to have planned their attack better in the last three matches, yet they must be wondering how to distribute the crucial 20 overs between the two spinners, attacking leg-spinner Shadab Khan and left-arm Imad Wasim.

The neighbouring countries have moved on from years of political conflicts but emotions will run high as millions of supporters around the world watch the first major final between two South Asian giants since the 2007 World T20.

"If we can get amongst them with the new ball, we can expose the middle order that hasn't batted much this competition. that's pretty much our aim and focus", Arthur said.

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A staggering billion people are expected to tune in on television around the world for a final at The Oval that, unless you are an England fan, represents the dream conclusion to what has been a largely disappointing mini World Cup. "But exposure to high-pressure situations is what India have had above Pakistan".

Former cricketers from both Pakistan and India took to Twitter to support their former teams.

India is used to finals, used to embracing the pressure and expectations.

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In between, Ajay Jadeja, Venkatesh Prasad, Hrishikesh Kanitkar or Joginder Sharma have all played their bit roles in winning big matches thereby overcoming the Sharjah Syndrome that affected the Indian teams of mid 80's and early 90's. I think we can see our style and method catching up with the rest of the world because we're being exposed to it now.