Considering Dhawan, Rohit and Kohli have floored most teams, Pakistan can do little but hope against hope in Sunday’s Champions Trophy final
India's leading run-scorer Shikhar Dhawan, Prolific opener Rohit Sharma and Skipper Virat Kohli. Pics/AFP
Birmingham: If your top three batsmen are in top form there is little the opposition can do other than hope against hope.
Almost all the teams have faced the brunt of the batting prowess of India's Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and skipper Virat Kohli.
The pattern is similar -- the flambouyant Dhawan and lazily elegant Sharma lay a strong platform, with one of them going on to get a big one. Thereafter, one-drop Kohli provides the class and grace.
India have played like champions en route to the final against Pakistan at The Oval tomorrow. Barring one bad day in the office against Sri Lanka, when Kohli fell for a duck and India went on to lose, in the other matches they have outclassed the opposition.
Of course, the bowlers, especially Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, and flashes of brilliant fielding have helped the team's cause, but there is no denying that the three batsmen have been outstanding, getting 80% of the runs in the four matches.
Dhawan (317 @79.25) and Sharma (304 @101.33), both from four matches, are the only players to cross the 300-run-mark so far. Add to it, Kohli currently is at fifth position among the top run-getters at 253 and considering he was out only once in four outings, (duck vs SL), he has a whopping average of 253. Only Tamim Iqbal (298) and Joe Root (258) are ahead of him but given that Bangladesh and England are out of the fray, there's a good chance the Indian trio will take up the top three spots after the final.
According to Kohli, the manner in which Dhawan and Sharma have batted, has helped him excel. "The way Rohit and Shikhar have batted, it has not only helped the team's cause but also given me so much confidence sitting in the changing room. These guys just go out, and especially Shikhar, the way he takes off, is outstanding. These two really dent the opposition mentally, and you can come in and play your shots."
I'm enjoying batting: Kohli
On his own form Kohli said: "I'm really enjoying the way I'm batting. For me, the number of runs don't matter at this stage. I'm enjoying theprocess, and something which is giving me joy is that whatever I'm practising and how I prepared after the IPL is paying off. So I'm pretty happy getting the team across the line. It doesn't matter if it's three figures or two or even one."
India are surely going to miss Sharma on the short tour of West Indies which follows the Champions Trophy. Sharma had a hip surgery six months ago and made his comeback during the IPL. The Indian think-tank does not want him to take too much load and have rested him.
"Rohit has come back and really had a full IPL season. They reached the final, so he got lesser rest than others. Plus, he had a massive hip surgery, so muscles around that area are always vulnerable, and today also, he felt a bit of stiffness in his right knee. We need to protect him going further because in the latter half of the year, we have massive tours coming up, and his batting contribution will be a huge factor for us.
Rest crucial for Rohit
"We want him to be careful because after a big surgery, you must be careful. If you push yourself too hard and it snaps, again you're out for seven, eight months. It's a conscious decision by everyone to give him a break. I'm sure he also understands the whole situation," explained Kohli.
However, before that break, there's one big final that Sharma will obviously be looking to deliver in.
Video: Team India abused on Champions Trophy 2017 Wikipedia page
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