Virat Kohli calm ahead of India-Pakistan final

News Hour:

India captain Virat Kohli said staying “close to reality” was the best way to carry the hopes of a cricket-crazy nation heading into a Champions Trophy final against arch-rivals Pakistan.

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Sunday’s showpiece match at the Oval in London is a 24,500 sell-out, with millions more around the world expected to watch the high-profile match.

Reigning champions India are the favourites, having launched their title-defence with a 124-run thrashing of Pakistan at Birmingham’s Edgbaston on June 4.

A lone loss to Sri Lanka apart, India have been in commanding form.

Kohli’s own performances at the Champions Trophy have seen him return to the top of the one-day international batting rankings.

His four innings, including three not outs, have left him with a colossal tournament batting average of 253 heading into the final.

This week also saw the 28-year-old Kohli become the fastest man to score 8,000 ODI runs, reaching the landmark in 175 innings seven fewer than South Africa star AB de Villiers’s 182.

Kohli already has 27 ODI centuries to his name, with a career strike-rate in excess of 91, and such has been the passionate drive with which he has led India that his fortunes and those of the team as a whole now seem indivisible.

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