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India wary of rejuvenated Pakistan: Kohli

Coming to the all important final on Sunday, if reigning champions India are riding on the confidence of having outclassed Pakistan in their opening match, the neighbours can gain comfort from the one hiccup their opponents had against Sri Lanka.

India, however, does have an upper hand since Pakistan usually is on the losing side against India in ICC tournaments.

Pakistan's fielding and catching was exceptional in their rout of England at Cardiff, and would need to be on top of its game, if they are to push India in a crunch game. Even as the cricket teams will battle it out for the Champions Trophy at The Oval, the hockey teams lock horns for a pulsating Pool B match at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. Now it's skipper Virat Kohli who is not only number one batsman but a master at chasing targets who has transformed the team into a professional outfit.

"Intense and serious in matches and at practice, he retains the invaluable ability to switch off from the game, relaxing, laughing and joking at every opportunity", said 33-year-old De Villiers. But I understand as a player that it is not possible.

"You can't think of those things when you step onto the field".

If past record is anything to go by, then Junaid always seems to come on top against the swashbuckling Indian batsman. You can't ignore it.

One of the keys to winning big games is each player being able to disregard all the outside distractions and focus on his role in the team. So if you are thinking we are three down and I might get out, then you will get out.

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"That's something I work on". I've learned a lot how to handle certain things. The ball hasn't swung, but you can see - for the first time arguably - that India bowlers have had defensive plans in place, and have executed them, especially Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah.

Or will it be the slick, skilled side who hammered England by eight wickets in the semi-finals, with Hasan Ali, the competition's leading wicket-taker, spearheading a brilliant bowling effort as the previously unbeaten tournament hosts were dismissed for just 211 before the likes of Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman helped knock off the runs in dashing style? "We have changed nothing from the day we came here", said Indian skipper Virat Kohli ahead of the match.

Pakistan lost to India in their first game only to ride their luck and win against South Africa.

Ahead of the high-octane final between India and Pakistan, Team India captain Virat Kohli made a decision to stay away from his 16 million followers on micro-blogging side while his counterpart Sarfraz Ahmed thanks fans for supporting the Pakistan team on Super Sunday final at The Oval.

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 Pakistan, the lowest-ranked side in a tournament featuring the world's leading eight one-day worldwide nations, bounced back to beat top-seeded South Africa and then held their nerve in a tense virtual quarter-final with Sri Lanka in Cardiff on Monday.

R. Ashwin had taping on his knee in training and although the injury did not appear serious, Kohli has Umesh Yadav, who took three for 30 against Pakistan in the opener, to call on.

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