India went into the match with a 12-0 record in World Cups against their neighbors but Pakistan snapped that streak with a 10-wicket romp at Dubai International Stadium.
Kohli reacted with incredulity when asked if their unblemished track record made them complacent ahead of the Group 2 blockbuster.
“You don’t go out there to take anything lightly, especially a team like Pakistan who on their day can beat anyone in the world,” Kohli, who will relinquish India’s Twenty20 captaincy
after the tournament, told reporters.
“This is a game that has to be respected, and we are a team that definitely respects the game… We never take any opposition lightly. Neither do we differentiate between oppositions, that’s how we play our cricket.”
Put into bat, India could not really recover after Shaheen Afridi wrecked their top order.
With Pakistan captain Babar Azam and opening partner Mohammad Rizwan smashing an unbeaten half-century, the chase was a cakewalk for Pakistan who triumphed with 13 balls to spare.
“They definitely outplayed us, there’s no doubt about that,” Kohli said. “You don’t win by 10 wickets if you don’t outplay the opposition. We did not even get any chances. They were very professional and you definitely have to give them credit.”
Kohli said the team tried to put pressure on them but “they had the answers.” “There’s no shame in accepting that a team played better than you,” he added.
India next plays New Zealand on Sunday and Kohli felt the break would do a world of good to his side, who had a fair idea about the areas they needed to work on.
“We know exactly how the game went, and where it went wrong. We have absolute clarity of that,” the 32-year-old said. “That’s a good thing to know where you went wrong as a team, so that we can work on it and try and correct it and move forward.”
Kohli said there were still a lot of matches left in the tournament. “If we stick to the process we follow, we definitely feel like we can overcome these mistakes,” he added.