India maestro Virat Kohli has implored his teammates to attack with self-belief when they’re bowling to Steve Smith.
Kohli and Smith, two of the best batsmen in the world, will play a big part in deciding whether Australia or India advance to the World Twenty20 semi-finals.
The two sides clash at 1am AEDT on Monday at Mohali in a virtual quarter-final.
Smith isn’t capable of muscling the ball over the rope with ease but a captain’s knock of 61 not out against Pakistan was a reminder of his immense value in the format.
“Top quality players around the world do tend to have answers for them more often than not. You just have to make life as difficult as possible for them and take up the challenge,” Kohli said of Smith.
“(Think that) yes he is a very good player. He’s a world-class player but I’m going to get him out today.
“It’s all about the mindset.
“How you prepare for a particular game and how much you believe you can actually get the opponent out. I believe it all boils down to that.”
Smith and Kohli both dominated the 2014-15 Test series in Australia, scoring four tons each.
“It’s just one of those things. It just happens sometimes you can get on a bit of a roll against an opposition and you’re hard to stop,” Smith said earlier this month.
“If we come up against India again it’d be nice to get on that sort of roll.”
Kohli has likewise saved his best for Smith’s side.
The 27-year-old’s average against Australia is better than his overall average in all three formats.
“They play with a lot of passion and I believe in playing the same way so I like that challenge,” Kohli said.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing against Australia but … you just can’t sit in your dressing room thinking that if it’s Australia I’m going to end up scoring runs.
“You still have to respect the conditions, the bowlers.”
Kohli added that Smith played an underrated role in T20 cricket.
“Smith gives them that solidarity in the middle overs. Which is great for any team,” he said.
“You can have a person who can play the least number of dot balls and still keep the scoreboard ticking, while the others are having a go at a few bowlers.
“It always helps.”