Birmingham: "In a big tournament everyone wants to play good cricket and everyone wants to finish games for the team. You will see more performances like these because you don't want to give even one percent chance to the opposition," said Indian captain Virat Kohli, on the one-sided nature of both the semi-finals in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.
The nature and style of India's victory over Bangladesh was yet another reminder of this team's ability to completely annihilate any opposition. Apart from the match against Sri Lanka, which was lost more due to the brilliance of the Lankan batsmen than any grave mistake by the Indians, Virat Kohli and his men have put in a rather clinical performance in each of their three victories so far.
The top order comprising of Shikhar Dhawan (317 runs in 4 innings), Rohit Sharma (304 runs in 4 innings) and Virat Kohli (253 runs in 4 innings) have scored a whopping 80 per cent of the team's runs so far. Both Dhawan and Rohit have a century and two half-centuries to their name while Virat Kohli has three half-centuries to his name.
Such has been India's discipline that the likes of Yuvraj and Dhoni haven't been needed to bat in most of the games. Both men though have one half-century under their belt respectively, which clearly shows that the entire batting unit is good health.
The same is the case with the bowling attack, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah making life difficult for opposition batsmen with their impeccable line and length both at the start of innings and in the death overs.
While the duo is not at the top of the wicket taking charts, Bumrah, who has 4 wickets in 4 matches to his name, has the best economy rate of 4.3 runs per over among specialist bowlers. Bhuvneshwar with 6 wickets and an economy rate of 4.7 runs per over is not far behind.
So, when these men have not picked up wickets, they have ensured that runs have not been leaked either, thus leading to a build-up of pressure which has often led to wickets falling at other ends. The Indian captain lauded the effort of both bowlers after the big win over Bangladesh.
"The length and line of both the bowlers has been impeccable. So consistent, bowling close to the batsman and always creating opportunities to get a wicket. Even in conditions which are not offering too much, bowling such lines which are creating wicket-taking opportunities, I think big credit goes to them for bringing us where we are right now," Kohli said.
India's fielding too has been on the dot, apart from a few blips here and there. Most of the fielders have developed a great sense of positioning, whether in the in-field or in the outfield. Catching abilities apart, the Indian fielders have saved a lot of runs in the field in this tournament as they have been agile and alert on the field.
According to captain Virat Kohli, the performances on the ground are a result of intense and systematic practice, which has transformed the team into a winning unit.
"Whatever we are doing in practice can be seen on the field. We are practicing smart and that is why we are able to play in a manner that we are not putting ourselves under pressure," Kohli said in the post-match press conference after the comprehensive victory over Bangladesh.
Next up for Kohli and his men are the unpredictable Pakistan side in the summit clash, who have turned their campaign around in style after a crushing defeat at the hands of India in the tournament opener.
Hasan Ali, who had a terrible outing against India with the ball and also dropped he crucial catch of Yuvraj Singh, has picked up 9 wickets in the next three matches and has played a vital role in helping Pakistan reach the final.
The addition of opener Fakhar Zaman and paceman Junaid Khan has paid dividends as both men have turned in great performances for the team. These men had not played against India in the opener and thus the 'Men in Blue' need to be cautious of Sarfraz Ahmed's team and the Indian captain is aware of the threat.
"Pakistan's turnaround has been great and the credit goes to the team for doing that. They have beaten sides who were very strong and the belief they have has come through on the field. A final match is always going to be challenging. We will plan according to their strengths and weaknesses but I don't think we need to change our approach," Kohli said.
Virat Kohli has taken India to the final of the first ICC event he is in charge of, and now needs to emulate his predecessor MS Dhoni, who had led India to victory in the 2007 WT20 after beating Pakistan in the final.
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