TODAY |

Finn Allen showcases class as IPL debut looms

Finn Allen has announced himself to the cricketing world before the young opener joins up with the superstars of the game in the Indian Premier League.

In just his third match for the Black Caps, Allen smashed 71 off 29 deliveries to set-up New Zealand's 65-run win over Bangladesh in the rain-shortened third Twenty20 international at Eden Park.

Allen, 21, brought up his 50 from just 18 balls, the Black Caps' equal second fastest T20 international half century and showed his full array of shots.

It followed a break-out season for the Wellington Firebirds in the domestic Super Smash T20 competition, in which he was the top run-scorer, scoring a staggering 512 runs at a strike-rate of 193.94.

He will now head to India where he will join Black Caps pace bowler Kyle Jamieson, India captain Virat Kohli, Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell and prolific South African batsman AB de Villiers at Royal Challengers Bangalore.

"With all of the games I play I want to have the same brand and approach it in the same aggressive way," Allen said.

"It's made me realise or want to learn to have more options. Get in similar positions, look to be dominant, but have more than one option for a particular delivery."

Allen's international career got off to a rocky start, with the Aucklander dismissed for a golden duck in the first T20 against Bangladesh in Hamilton on Sunday.

"T20 is a fickle game. I was gutted obviously a lot of people had come down to watch and I obviously had high expectations for myself.

"But the team won at the end of the day and I was there to celebrate and pretty happy for the guys to get across the line,

"There was a bit of disappointment but I was pretty keen to get stuck in for the next game and pretty lucky that there was just a day in between."

His second opportunity came in Napier, where Allen showed a glimpse of his talents, scoring 17 from 10 with his first international runs coming by way of a reverse hit.

"For me it was just about being fearless and continuing to be like that from the Super Smash, obviously that fear of not getting out and wanting to take it to the opposition.

"I felt like that is a shot of worked on a lot to left-arm spin this summer and I thought it's a shot I play a lot so why not pull it out you know, it doesn't matter the situation.

"I could have easily thought I haven't scored a run yet just get one under the belt, but I felt like it was the best option for me.

"Talking to Gup (fellow Black Caps opener Martin Guptill) at the other end he said 'back yourself, back your skills' and I went for it."

The reverse hit was a shot he developed in the Super Smash when he was preparing to face Black Caps left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner.

"I think I spent two or three days in the net sessions batting left-handed almost to the spinners. And luckily it came off and kept going from there."

Allen brought out the shot once more at Eden Park to get off the mark in the series finale.

"Again I just felt like it was a good option you know the whole field was up. I knew roughly what he was going to try and bowl and I thought it was a good match-up for me.

"Again Gup said 'back yourself, it's a shot you play a lot so play it' so luckily it came off and we went from there."

Allen has relished opening with Guptill who he says is "unreal to bat with".

"He's obviously got so much experience and he knows his game so well and his calming influence on me sort of helps me to stay focused and watch the ball.

"And watching him hit some of those shots. He hits the ball pretty far you know. It almost makes it easier for me because he dents the bowlers' confidence as well so it's awesome opening up with him."

And he will look back on his first week in international cricket with fondness.

"It's been awesome. I definitely didn't think it would be this easy to integrate into an international side like it has.

"I think it just shows how good the group is and what a good place they're in at the moment.

"Great group of guys as well and the coaching staff make it all very easy fit in and feel comfortable which I think helps particularly for me and my confidence. It allows me to go out and play the way I did. Similar to the way Wellington brought me in."

rnz.co.nz