India's captain Virat Kohli is in confident mood ahead of the huge T20 World Cup Super-12 clash against New Zealand tomorrow. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: After a comprehensive defeat in the opener of the Twenty20 World Cup, Indian captain Virat Kohli is confident of bouncing back in the crucial encounter against New Zealand in Dubai on Sunday (tomorrow).

“We are quality cricketers to know what we need to do and when we execute on our day, we can beat any team in the world. We have showed that time and time again,” Kohli said during a media interaction ahead of the clash that will strengthen the team’s chances for a place in the semi-finals.

Heavy loss

After the heavy loss last Sunday, the Indian team have been on a weeklong break that would have given them enough time to regroup and pick themselves up. “We were totally outplayed by the opposition. You need to accept as professional cricket team,” Kohli added. “Lot of time waiting and doing nothing. We are itching to go back on the park.”

The fitness of Hardik Pandya came into focus after his lacklustre performance in the opener after having hurt his shoulder while batting and did not return when India were fielding. “Hardik is fit to play and his shoulder is absolutely fine,” Kohli said, which should come in as a pleasant news for the Indian fans as his medium pace bowling will give the skipper more options to fall back on.

After failing to get even a single wicket in the 10-wicket loss, even Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s bowling too came in for criticism, but Kohli defended the bowlers saying, the team failed to deliver collectively in both batting and bowling and said he didn’t want to single out any individual.

The game against New Zealand will be a lot different as Indian players are more familiar with the conditions in the UAE and will suit the team better than the Black Caps.

Major setback

Before the clash, the Kane Williamson-led team suffered a major setback after pacer Lockie Ferguson, who played a key role in Kolkata Knight Riders’ campaign in the UAE where they finished runners-up to Chennai Super Kings, pulled out with a calf tear. Even veteran opener Martin Guptill is also nursing a toe injury after being hit on by a Yorker off Haris Rauf against Pakistan in Sharjah.

Even though New Zealand have the edge in the head-to-head record with the Black Caps defeating India in the last few major meetings, the Men in Blue still start as favourites in the Dubai Super-12 clash. The conditions in the UAE do not favour Tim Southee and Trent Boult, who might not be able get the lateral movement that they normally would outside the subcontinent and will have to depend more on the variations. Similarly the batting is also not looking good.

With the dew playing a crucial role on the UAE pitches, titling the balance towards team batting second, the toss is proving a big factor. So far in the Super-12 matches only on two occasions teams batting first have won the clash with only Afghanistan electing to bat after winning the toss. But Kohli says with the right attitude one can overcome the issue.

Big factor

“Toss will continue to be a big factor and that’s the nature of this tournament,” Kohli said. “You can look at this situation in two ways. You can bank too much on the toss or you can challenge yourself as a team, even if you lose the toss, that you are good enough to bowl or bat in any condition. I think that’s the attitude.”

With that attitude, Kohli’s men need to put a total above 170 to put the New Zealand batters under pressure. And to do that the top three Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Kohli should come out all guns blazing and play deep so that the likes of Pandyas and Jadejas can go on the offensive.

The clash is akin to a knockout quarter-final where there will be no quarter given.