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India vs South Africa, ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Virat Kohli raring to go against South Africa, says composure key in knockout

India captain Virat Kohli urged his players to keep their composure against South Africa in a do-or-die match on Sunday.
Subhasish Dutta London June 11, 2017 8:19 IST
Subhasish Dutta

Virat Kohli has a natural thing for big matches. He approaches mega matches like a duck takes to water. As a player who always wears his pride on his sleeves, Kohli likes to perform at the big stage. Time and again he has confessed that he gets an adrenaline rush when he is up against a challenge and he likes to go beyond measures to finish the task. With India facing a do-or-die situation against South Africa in the ICC Champions Trophy on Sunday, the 28-year-old Delhi stalwart is again raring to go and save the defending champions from the ignominy of an early exit from the tournament.

India started their Champions Trophy campaign by decimating arch-rivals Pakistan by 124 runs at Birmingham. However, against all expectations, Kohli and Co. lost their second match to a less fancied Sri Lanka and failed to seal their place in the semi-finals. The loss to the islanders means India now have to beat world No.1 ranked ODI team South Africa to progress to the last four stage.

Ahead of the mega clash, Kohli said he was looking forward to playing the high stakes game against South Africa in a virtual quarter-final of ICC Champions Trophy. When asked to define the magnitude of the match, the Indian captain said for him every match holds equal value.

"To me, every game is same. You win some and you lose some. I never thought that the game against Pakistan was the biggest game of the my career and I don't think this one is either. For us as a team, it is a very important game. So is for South Africa as well. The game has to offer a lot for both the teams and both the teams will play with 120 per cent commitment and with full passion. It will be a great game to watch for all the viewers and for the players to be a part of it as well. You get to test how good you are in situation like these and as a cricketer. 

"Personally for me, I crave for games like these. You want to be a part of matches that are as important as this one and then if you perform and your team gets across the line, it is a different feeling, it improves you as a cricketer. Every one looks forward to games like these and every one is excited for it," Kohli said at the pre-match press conference in London on Saturday.

On whether there is a difference when a league game turns into a knock-out match, he replied: "I think you need to have a good balance of being competitive as well as passionate but at the same time, not getting over-excited."

Kohli also cautioned that over-excitement can mess up their plans and urged the players to keep their composure.

"I think you need to have a god balance of being competitive, being passionate about the game and at the same time not being over excited. I think that the team that treats the game as normal as possible is a team that's in a better position to get the right result. A lot of times teams come in and they want to do something special and end up messing up the game and in important situations, a team that can have most composure I would say will have a better chance of winning the game tomorrow. That's what I have experienced in the past. When you tend to get over excited, you commit errors that can cost the team. I think composure will be the biggest word for tomorrow," he said.

When asked whether Ravichandran Ashwin will get a look in for Sunday's game, Kohli decided to keep the cards close to his chest.

"Yeah, as I said there are all kind of possibilities. We definitely have looked at the last game and where we can make a bit of change. We have already discussed those things, and yeah, I am not going to reveal anything now, but everything is possible. You can have any sort of combination possible for us starting tomorrow," he said.