India skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday downplayed the importance of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final against Pakistan by saying that the team was treating the match as "just another game of cricket". India, who had outclassed Pakistan in their first match of the group stage on June 4, will look be looking to retain the title they won in 2013 when they face their arch-rivals at The Oval, London on Sunday. However, India's star batsman said that the past would not have a bearing in the final and no team are guaranteed a win.
"It is just another game of cricket tomorrow. We play to win every match. I don't see any relevance of the first game in the final. Aim is to play well, and past statistics and records don't matter. No team has the guarantee to win. The team which has better frame of mind will win the game." Kohli told reporters ahead of the mega-clash on Sunday.
When India began their Champions Trophy campaign against Pakistan at Edgbaston on June 4, there were two different schools of thought about the prospects of the two sides. One half expected India, the defending champions, to make it all the way to the final, while the other half gave eighth-ranked Pakistan not even a ghost of a chance.
The Indian captain said that game would not have any relevance and praised the Pakistan team for reaching the final.
"Pakistan can beat anyone on their day, everyone is aware the kind of talent and ability they have," said Kohli.
The star batsman has been in lip-smacking form. After scoring an unbeaten 76 against South Africa in the final group game, Kohli smashed 96 not out off 78 balls against Bangladesh in the semis to help India enter the final of the mega tournament.
Kohli moved to the top of the one-day International batting rankings this week with his three half-centuries in the tournament taking his total runs tally in the 50-over format to 8,008 at an average of 54.07.
"It's how to think about the game and prepare for big matches. I see myself in difficult situations and convince myself that I can pull the team out of difficult situation. Positive thinking helps me think positive about the game," Kohli said about his own batting.
The 28-year-old said that he wasn't looking to make much changes to the squad and came out in strong defence of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who's bowling has been below par in this tournament.
I'm not looking to change too many things. Will any day back a guy like Hardik Pandya. He can give you match-winning performance at any time. So far he has been giving a good performance. I expect my team to do good every time. I'm sure every player will give their 120 per cent.
Not only will India and Pakistan be locking horns on the cricket field, the hockey teams of the two countries will also be crossing swords in the Hockey World League (HWL) semi-finals on Sunday.
"I have never tried hockey, it is very scary. I wish our hockey team all the best. They are prety good and and I am sure they will do fine," Kohli said.