Sat, Jun 17, 2017 - Page 16 News List

India openers inspire Kohli


India captain Virat Kohli plays a shot against Bangladesh during their Champions Trophy semi-final at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England, on Thursday.

Photo: AP

India captain Virat Kohli heads into a Champions Trophy final against archrivals Pakistan back on top of the one-day international batting rankings.

However, the star batsman insists it is the form of the titleholders’ opening duo that is giving him confidence ahead of tomorrow’s clash between the subcontinent cricket giants at the Oval.

The 28-year-old Kohli is also top of the tournament batting averages with a scarcely credible mark of 253 — a figure that owes much to the fact that three of his four innings so far have been not outs.

Kohli was undefeated again as India crushed Bangladesh by nine wickets in their semi-final at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

His 96 not out saw Kohli end the match with nearly 10 overs to spare by hitting a four off Sabbir Rahman.

However, Rohit Sharma was 123 not out at the other end, having shared an unbroken stand of 178 with his skipper.

By the time Kohli came in India were well on their way to chasing down a modest victory target of 265 thanks to a brisk opening partnership of 87 between Sharma and left-hander Shikhar Dhawan, who made 46.

“I’m really enjoying the way I’m batting,” Kohli told reporters. “For me the number of runs do not matter at this stage. I’m really enjoying the process.”

“The way Rohit and Shikhar batted, it just gave me so much confidence heading out of the changing room. Those two guys really dent the opposition mentally,” he added.

That India had a below-par total to chase owed much to Kohli’s decision to bring on unheralded spinner Kedar Jadhav, who dismissed Tamim Iqbal for 70 and Mushfiqur Rahim for 61 on his way to figures of 2-22 in six overs.

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