T20 World Cup 2022 – Blazing Finn Allen writes new chapter in Trans-Tasman rivalry at World Cups

Seven years later, and it was a little different this time, although the trophy itself was not at stake. Yet it has already been significantly loosened from Australia’s grasp. second ball, Finn Allen cleared halfway through for four, the next ball he continues with the first six of the Super 12’s and two deliveries later he learns one straight down. At the end of the first over, New Zealand was 14th without a loss.

By the end of the second, that number had more than doubled. co-opener Devon Conway had caught in the act, tucked Josh Hazlewood’s first ball well and then ordered the world’s No. 1 T20I bowler to send it past halfway. Allen covered the upper hand by sending Hazlewood through the covers.

And it didn’t stop there. The third over, Pat Cummins’ first, went for 17. Two more fours and a thunderous six over square leg for Allen. Australia’s big three were torn apart. When Allen was in charge for the third time, against Marcus Stoinis, New Zealand’s fifty had risen in 3.5 overs.

“To talk with [head coach Gary Stead] about how we wanted to approach the game, we wanted to throw the first punch and take it with us, be it with the ball or the bat,” Allen said. It instilled my confidence in taking one away early against Starc.

“They are an intimidating attack to encounter, so it was [about] just try to play the ball instead of the bowler. It’s what I try and always do, treat everyone the same in that regard. I think everyone agrees that when you try to swat it, it’s a bit more fun than blocking it.”

“As a batsman, once you have an edge over an opponent and you are ahead of the game… you can start dictating a little bit. That’s what happened today. He [Allen] got out on a kite and put us on the back foot”

Australian Captain Aaron Finch

Although Allen’s innings ended in the fifth over when Hazlewood burst through him with a full pitch, his 16-ball stay was arguably one of the most important for New Zealand in recent times.

“The way we started at the front is something Finn thinks is quite special,” said Conway. “He put some serious pressure on the bowlers and we used that momentum throughout the game. It’s a serious effort from him. I’ve seen him perform like this a number of times when he played with him in Wellington.”

The New Zealand side is in the early stages of the transition and Allen is one of the newer faces on the whiteball teams. It may seem obvious given his influence on this game, but New Zealand made an important decision that led to this tournament by letting Allen open the battle for the experienced Martin Guptil – a player who has taken apart many a white ball attack during his career and has an average of 35.61 with a strike rate of 144.23 against Australia in T20Is.

But lately, Allen only looked like he should have the part. There had been a hint of it in Cairns last month when, having lost the ODI series, he came out for the final game and showed more fluency than any of the best hitters.

“He was fantastic. He came at us hard and took on us”, captain of Australia Aaron Finch said of Allen. “We knew he was going to do that. As a batsman, once you get an edge over an opponent and you’re ahead of the game… you can start dictating a little bit. That’s what happened today. And turn us on.” on the back foot.”

He had already made his mark in T20Is with a series of blistering innings – including 101 off 56 balls against Scotland – although the opening against Australia in the first game of a World Cup was a new level of pressure. Not that it turned out in the least. Towards the end of these innings, he held the highest success rate in the T20 for all gentlemen for anyone who has played at least 500 balls, for Andre Russell. It’s quite the early marker in a career.

“I definitely have to be okay with failing a lot,” Allen said. “The consistency can go up and down sometimes, which is difficult at times, but that’s where our management and Kane [Williamson] are so good at reassuring me that everything is fine and it won’t always work out… they make sure I know everyone is behind me and take the positive option.”

When asked if he always has a confident look, he replied, “I’ll try, it’s not the worst mantra for life.”

Australia never really recovered from the early attack, despite managing some control in the mid-stage. Allen had such an impact that it still felt like the most important innings of the game, even though Conway took over and went on to go to an unbeaten 92 from 58 balls, the second time he’d just missed a T20I hundred against Australia. In contrast to Allen’s immense strength, Conway uses angles and placement – his work against Adam Zampa was excellent, taking the leg pinner for 32 in 17 balls. He now has the extraordinary T20I average of 57.38, but was happy to delay his teammate.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Finn and the way he played,” he said. “The way he pressured them allowed me to get those balls that were a little looser. In T20 cricket, when you pressure bowlers, no matter how good you are, it’s a tough job. Ball two, he hit one to the border and we were gone.”

There will be some bickering about it Kane Williamson‘s innings – a run-a-ball 23 – but making 200 for 3 and winning by 89 runs, bowling success split between pace and spin, against the defending champions on their turf doesn’t leave many holes to pick. “For us, it’s almost a perfect match,” said Conway. If they put in some reruns, there might be another MCG final within reach.

Andrew McGlashan is deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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