World Cup 2019, India vs New Zealand semifinal: Whoever handles pressure will come out on top, says Kohli

Ahead of the semifinal clash against New Zealand, India skipper Virat Kohli said that his side is confident and that it is better equipped than the Kane Williamson-led side when it comes to handling pressure in the knock-out game.

India skipper Virat Kohli during a Press conference ahead of the first semifinal against New Zealand.   -  AFP

If there were nerves ahead of a knockout game, Virat Kohli masked it well. The Indian skipper answered every question with candour and a ready-smile and felt that his men should stick to their ‘A game’ against New Zealand in the World Cup 2019 semifinal. Kohli spoke to correspondents at Old Trafford here on Monday.

Excerpts

Under-19 days and the Williamson connect

It is quite nice to realise that 11 years after we captained our respective nations (in the Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia) we are here again in the senior World Cup. Neither Kane nor I would have ever anticipated that this would happen.

The mood within the camp

Everyone is relaxed and confident. All the teams worked hard to get here and now whoever plays better will win. We are looking forward to it. It's been a long tournament, lots of hard work and intense games and we are happy that we made it to the semis. Now there's only opportunity in front of us.

A knockout game

In knockout games you need to be very precise at the same time being intense. Both teams are experienced. New Zealand was in the final last time and they have a quality side. It is up to both the teams to bring their A-game and whoever handles pressure better is the team that is going to come out on top.

New Zealand attack

The New Zealand attack has always been balanced. Mitchell Santner brings in a lot of control in the middle overs. We know that we will have to play correct cricket to score runs because they bowl good lines. It's going to be a nice battle. It is a potent attack.

Rohit's tons and Kohli missing century

It's great that Rohit is scoring so consistently which means that coming in the later half of the innings I have to play a different role which is about controlling the middle overs and letting guys like Hardik (Pandya), Kedar (Jadhav), M.S. (Dhoni) and Rishabh (Pant), express themselves. Personal milestones are something that no one focuses on. Rohit said the same the other day. I hope he gets two more so we can win two more games (laughs). I have never seen anyone get five hundreds in a World Cup or any other tournament. He is at the moment the top ODI player in the world.

Five-bowler ploy

We played with five bowlers because it gives us more depth in batting. But we are up to reviewing that, otherwise, I was just told that I got Kane out (in Under-19 World Cup) so I can bowl and I am quite lethal (laughs). Having said that, it's open for discussion because we need to be balanced on the field.