Virat Kohli has urged India to produce a repeat of their Pakistan demolition when they face Sri Lanka in the Champions Trophy on Thursday. His side made a memorable start to the tournament as the defending champions crushed arch-rivals Pakistan by 124 runs in Birmingham on Sunday. After India piled up 319 for three in 48 overs, they turned the screw on Pakistan, dismissing them for 164 as they failed to chase down a rain-reduced target of 289.
Kohli, with 81 not out off 68 balls, and Yuvraj Singh, named Man of the Match for a rapid 53, both battered the Pakistan attack after Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan laid the platform for a big total with an opening stand of 136.
A repeat of that batting blitz against Sri Lanka at The Oval would send India to the semi-finals and Kohli expects Yuvraj to lead the charge again.
"After I got to 50, I wasn't able to freely play. And Yuvraj came in and just took all the pressure off me," he said.
"The way he batted was the way only he can strike the ball.
"I think that really deflated the opposition. His innings was a difference in the game."
It was the perfect response to reports of a rift between India captain Kohli and the team's coach Anil Kumble.
Kohli knows momentum can change quickly in one-day competitions, especially against a desperate Sri Lanka team looking to bounce back from defeat to South Africa in their opener.
But he hopes the confidence boost from beating Pakistan will help India secure another victory in their second Group B match.
"Every game in this tournament is big, but we have a side with a few youngsters coming in and gradually getting towards strengthening their careers for India," he said.
"So I think from that, from the team's point of view, it's a massive win for us.
"Just the way we played and the confidence we showed throughout the game was something that was very pleasing to see as a captain.
"Even though we lost the toss, guys were raring and ready to go, willing to take up the pressure.
"That gave all of us the confidence to start striking the ball well, but initially the openers gave us a good start as well.
"As I said, it's a clinical performance from us, from the team's point of view, yes, it is indeed a very big win," Kohli added.
(With inputs from AFP)