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 batsmen 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. And 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.
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“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.