Cricket: Blackcaps slugger Finn Allen credits advice from Kane Williamson for star showings against Pakistan

Fresh from a man-of-the-match display in New Zealand's 21-run Twenty20 international victory over Pakistan, Finn Allen has credited the impact of white-ball captain Kane Williamson for his stellar start to the series.  

In the series opener at Auckland, Allen slammed a rapid 34 from just 15 balls, including 24 runs in one over off Pakistan captain Shaheen Shah Afridi.  

At Hamilton, he recorded his fourth T20 international half-century, hitting 74 from 41 balls - with a staggering 58 runs coming from boundaries.

Finn Allen at Eden Park.
Finn Allen at Eden Park. Photo credit: Photosport

Allen, 24, credits the presence of his skipper at the other end for what he's been able to do so far this series.  

"I think it's just an assessment of the wicket," he said. "First game, having Kane around me, knowing he's the rock, so I could be a bit more aggressive and take the high-risk options on a good wicket.  

"Today, it was a bit of both. Me and Dev [Devon Conway] were both going at the start, we thought it was a good time to bat.   

"Through the middle, I wanted to pick my deliveries a bit more and build that partnership with Kane. He tells me to keep taking strong options and keep backing myself really.

"We don't really talk a whole lot in terms of that stuff out there. We just identify what the bowlers are doing, what the wicket's like, to hold good shapes and have strong options."  

Despite his incredible promise since arriving on the international scene in 2021, Allen's aggressive nature has seen him struggle to consistently produce match-changing scores.  

From 37 games, he still averages less than 25 with the bat, despite generating a strike rate of close to 160 runs per 100 balls faced. In the last two outings, Allen has looked like the players the Blackcaps have always wanted him to be.  

Finn Allen against Pakistan.
Finn Allen against Pakistan. Photo credit: Photosport

At Auckland, Allen and Williamson added 49 runs in just 28 balls together, and went again in Hamilton, with a partnership of 52 from just 29, before the captain was forced to retire with a hamstring complaint.  

Williamson will miss game three at Dunedin regardless, but all eyes will now be on that hamstring, especially with test series against South Africa and Australia to come later this summer.   

Mitchell Santner will likely captain in Williamson's absence, while Tim Seifert or Will Young loom as options to slot in at No.3 in the batting order, with New Zealand holding a 2-0 lead and three games still to play.

Allen should now loom as the focal point of Pakistan's worries, as the Blackcaps chase a series win.  

In his last four innings for club and country, Allen has passed 50 three times, hitting 18 sixes, although 10 of them have come in the Super Smash domestic opposition.  

Recent form is a huge boost to Allen, who missed out on last year's Cricket World Cup in India, due to his inconsistency at the highest level.

In his absence, Rachin Ravindra proved worth persisting in as a top-order option, notably in 50-over cricket.  

In the shortest format, Allen says he's left no stone unturned in his quest to become a New Zealand regular, especially as the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and USA approaches.   

"I feel like I've been doing some good work outside of the games, behind the scenes with Auckland," he said. "I'm pretty happy with the direction that I'm heading."

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