Birmingham: Mahendra Singh Dhoni said India won't give Pakistan a consolation prize at Edgbaston on Saturday. India's Captain Cool challenged Pakistan to a duel even though the group B ICC Champions Trophy fixture is inconsequential from a tournament perspective. India are already in the semifinals and Pakistan will be catching a flight home, probably on Monday.
When told that that Pakistan were treating Saturday's match "as a final," Dhoni replied: "Well, there are two ways to look at it. If their thinking is that they have nothing really to lose, let's go out, be expressive on the field, don't bother about the result, then they can be dangerous. (Also read: Misbah treating match vs India as final)
"But if the thinking is they are not qualified, this is a game against India, let's win this game so we have it as a consolation prize, they'll be in big trouble. So it depends entirely on what Pakistan are thinking." (Also see: Pics - Top India vs Pakistan encounters)
Dhoni also flaunted India's batting muscle in this championship. India have scored 300-plus runs thrice in four games after arriving in the UK and all top six batsmen are in great nick. The opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have twice put on 100-plus stands. Dhoni can't depend on the openers alone.
"We don't need 100-plus opening stands every time we go out to bat," he said. "We are a side relying on good starts but don't always need 100-run stands from the openers. We need partnerships in the middle that can keep the runs flowing," Dhoni said.
While admitting all India-Pakistan matches were big games, Dhoni said it would be suicidal to take extra pressure. "It's surely an important game. All international sides are good and packed with good fast bowlers. Pakistan also have good spinners in (Saeed) Ajmal and (Mohammed) Hafeez. We will not change our approach," Dhoni said. (Related read: Pak team in great spirits, says team manager)
With rain clouds hovering over Edgbaston, the Indians were forced to train indoors at the Edgbaston Cricket Centre on Friday afternoon. The toss could be a factor in Saturday's clash, feels Dhoni.
"Once you get closer to the game, the forecasts, they are a bit more realistic. So we'll see how it goes. What also needs to be seen is whether it will be so much rain affected that the team that bats second may end up only batting 20 or 25 overs, and then the team who has batted first has a bit of a disadvantage," explained the Indian skipper.