ICC Champions Trophy: Nothing special about South Africa game - Virat Kohli

India skipper Virat Kohli has urged his team to stay calm and execute their plans in the must-win ICC Champions Trophy 2017 Group B clash against South Africa in the Oval

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 10, 2017 18:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, London
Champions Trophy 2017,ICC Champions Trophy,India vs South Africa
Virat Kohli-led India will take South Africa on Sunday for a place in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 semi-finals.(REUTERS)

India skipper Virat Kohli is faced with tricky selection choices and needs his team to be at their best as they face the formidable South Africa in the must-win Group B game in the Champions Trophy 2017 at the Oval on Sunday.

Virat Kohli’s side looked headed for the semifinals with a match to spare when they piled up 321 against Sri Lanka, only for their young rivals to bat out of their skin to upstage India by seven wickets at the Oval.

The result has turned the India-South Africa tie as well as Monday’s last Group B game between Pakistan and Sri Lanka into virtual quarterfinals as only the winners will qualify for the semifinals.

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Virat Kohli’s team had faced massive pressure in the build-up to the opening game against arch-rivals Pakistan, but held their nerves to win by 124 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method.

On Saturday, the India skipper urged his players to focus on the job at hand and not be overawed by the prospect of facing the formidable opponents.

“We don’t have to do anything special to win against south Africa,” Virat Kohli told a media conference at the Oval on Saturday.

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“Such matches against South Africa test you as a player and team,” he said. “The team that holds its composure tomorrow, will win. We should not get excited about it.”

He played down hype ahead of the game, and wasn’t too pleased with suggestions that it would be a massive game for the 2013 Champions Trophy winners.

“No match is the biggest for me. You all said the Pakistan game was the biggest. Has that perception changed now?” he countered.

Read | ‘ICC Champions Trophy begins now for Group B, India will be under high pressure’

“We have discussed changes in the dressing room and all kinds of possibilities exist.”

India are likely to look at their batting approach after a total of 321 proved not enough on a good Oval pitch, while the bowling could also be tweaked with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin expected to play in his first game of the tournament.

First Published: Jun 10, 2017 18:42 IST