'Pak game will bring the best out of us'
Nottingham: Faced with an "intimidating atmosphere", Indian captain Virat Kohli on Thursday promised the marquee World Cup clash with Pakistan will bring the best out of his players.
Kohli was speaking after the game between India and New Zealand was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
"It's been competitive for years, it's a marquee event all over the world, honour to be a part of the big game. Brings out the best in all of us," Kohli said of the June 16 face-off at Old Trafford.
"For Sunday, we know we're there when it comes to the mindset. Just about going out there and having a game plan, executing it," he said after the washout against New Zealand.
Like in previous editions of the showpiece, the upcoming India-Pakistan match has also generated a lot of buzz, with fans of both teams eagerly awaiting the start of the game.
"As soon as you enter the field, it's calm and relaxed. The atmosphere from the outside, for the first time, it's a bit intimidating, but we'll look to execute well."
Talking about Shikhar Dhawan, who has suffered a thumb injury, Kohli said: "Shikhar will be in a plaster for a couple of weeks, we'll assess and see. Hopefully, he'll be available for the later half and the semi-finals. He's motivated, we wanted to keep him back."
Meanwhile, Pakistan must go back to their Champions Trophy triumph for inspiration and then look for early wickets in their World Cup encounter against arch-rivals India, suggests former captain Waqar Younis. Bitter foes India and Pakistan lock horns in the tournament's one of the most anticipated matches at the Old Trafford on Sunday.
"It's simple — if Pakistan want to stay in the tournament, they have to bring an 'A plus' performance and win that game," Waqar said in his column for the ICC.
"When Pakistan play India it's always a huge game, but their meeting on Sunday is shaping up to be more crucial than ever."
While he did not read much into India's all-win record against Pakistan in the World Cup, the pace great urged his country to look up to the title triumph in the 2017 Champions Trophy, where they beat India in the final. "Pakistan have got to take positives out of what they did to India in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy a couple of years ago. They must think positively going into this game. I hope they have got their best game in the locker for India, who showed against Australia that they are a very fine side," Waqar, one of the best fast bowlers of his time, said. According to the former captain and coach, picking up early wickets could be key to Pakistan's chances. "What I have seen in this World Cup so far is that if you don't pick up early wickets, you're in trouble. The new ball is so crucial and openers are being more careful in the first 10 overs this year," said Waqar.