Virat Kohli’s knack of dealing with the expectations of 600 million cricket-crazy India supporters will be put to the test as never before in the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan.

A global broadcast audience of more than half-a-billion is being projected for Sunday’s showdown between two of the sport’s fiercest rivals.

Kohli will be cast centre stage as India captain in front of a mere 24,500 sell-out crowd at The Oval, and his primary task will be to keep his composure at the crease and in the field as the overwhelming favourites bid to retain their title.

At the age of 28, his stellar career to date has made him an expert at setting aside the scrutiny and pressure – to the tune of 27 one-day international hundreds and counting, for example.

It is quite a feat, and one which has had to be learned and honed.

“You can’t think of those things when you step on to the field,” said Kohli.

“I know there are expectations, I know there are people that expect the team and me to do well every time we play. But I understand as a player and as a person that it’s not possible.”

Instead, his personal method is to visualise success and have faith in his and his team’s ability, but not to believe in miracles.

“You have to be close to reality,” said Kohli. “This is a part of being an Indian cricketer, you have to find a way to deal with it.

India's Virat Kohli in action during the ICC Champions Trophy, semi-final match at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Virat Kohli in action against Bangladesh during the semi-final at Edgbaston (Mike Egerton/PA)

“You can’t ignore it. You have to maintain a balance and then focus on what you need to do on the field.

“I think I’ve been able to strike a good balance until now and I’m sure I’ll be fine tomorrow.”

Pakistan have already “closed the chapter” on their trouncing by India in the group stages of the Champions Trophy and intend to prove the point in the final, according to coach Mickey Arthur.

Straight-talking Arthur has previously described Pakistan’s performance in their 124-run defeat to their neighbours and great rivals at Edgbaston two weeks ago as “terrible” and “shambolic”.

On the eve of Sunday’s high-profile rematch he also said the Birmingham encounter was an “aberration”, entirely uncharacteristic these days of a team who often glory in their reputation for unpredictability.

Pakistan recovered their composure to record back-to-back victories in Cardiff, the first over Sri Lanka taking them through to the semi-final stage and the second knocking England out of their own tournament three days ago.

Pakistan's Mohammad Amir in bowling action
Mohammad Amir will be key to Pakistan’s chances (Mike Egerton/PA)

Arthur is confident that, with key seamer Mohammad Amir fit to come straight back into the team after the back spasm which ruled him out on Wednesday, Pakistan can consign their Birmingham misadventure to history.

“The India game was an aberration,” he said.

“What we’ve produced after that doesn’t come as any surprise, because that’s how we trained, and that’s what we worked at.

“It was very disappointing to see that go wrong in the Indian game, but … we’ve closed the chapter on that.”