Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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10-overs a side New Zealand 141 for 4 in 10 overs (Allen 71, Guptill 44, Shoriful 1-21) beat Bangladesh 76 (Naim 19, Astle 4-13, Southee 3-15) by 65 runs
Finn Allen has arrived. The 21-year-old, all of three T20Is young, made the joint second-fastest T20I fifty by a New Zealander in a 10-overs-a-side contest at Eden Park to help New Zealand hammer 141 for 4. This was 65 too many for Bangladesh, who ended their tour with six straight losses.
For over two hours, intermittent rain kept a thin but boisterous crowd on tenterhooks. When rain finally abated to give way to some cricket, Liton Das, leading in place of the injured Mahmudullah, elected to bowl. But soon enough, all that glee at getting to do what he wanted, disappeared as Allen and Martin Guptill bristled their way to an 85-run opening stand in just 5.4 overs.
Guptill sets the tone, Allen follows
Guptill scored each of the 23 runs New Zealand made in the first two overs, which also consisted of six dot balls. Swinging cleanly to pepper the arc between cow corner and long-off, he did all the early running. Allen, who faced just one delivery in this phase, opened the scoring with an audacious reverse sweep for four off left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed.
That reverse sweep was followed by a muscular hoick over midwicket for back-to-back boundaries. This much was clear. He had no fear, neither was he unfazed at two relatively low scores in his first two outings. If the ball was there to be hit, he was going after them. This forced the bowlers to also alter their lengths and in doing so, they erred and Allen made merry.
What Allen did well
Allen has a still head and incredible hand speed in finding his desired areas. If the bowler went length, he backed away to muscle it away or slap it over the infield. When they went full, he cleared his front leg to clear the sight screen. If they tried to bang it in, he flat-batted them. If they went full and wide, he got down on one knee to scythe this away. If they tried a leg-stump yorker and missed, he was ready to scoop them fearlessly over short fine.
It was almost as if the bowlers had no answers to Allen's pyrotechnics. The reward in the end, a maiden T20 fifty and plenty of chatter on social media about what he could potentially achieve at his upcoming IPL stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he'd team up with Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. All this as Guptill also found his own hitting range in making 44 off 18 before holing out to sweeper cover.
Fielding lets Bangladesh down
Not for the first time on tour, Bangladesh's fielding was a disappointment. At Eden Park, where the boundaries are slightly odd-shaped because it's also a Rugby ground, Bangladesh's struggled with their angles, grassing as many as four catches and bailing out of one completely.
Allen was put down twice in the fourth over. First, Rubel Hossain put down a tough chance running back from mid-off. Then, Soumya Sarkar failed to get around from mid-on to grab a steepler. Then in the seventh over, Soumya put Allen down again on 51 when he did all the hard work in running in from long-off and then putting in a full-length dive - doing most things right - before grassing the ball off his fingertips. Then in the penultimate over, Shoriful Islam bailed out of a catch to once again reprieve Allen for the fourth time in the night, but by then the damage had been done.
But there was some silver lining in Shoriful's bowling efforts. Hitting the hard lengths with his left-arm pace and mixing it up with the wide yorkers, his two overs went for just 21 for the wicket of Glenn Phillips as he looked to accelerate towards the end. In a game where New Zealand went at 14 an over, this was commendable.
Southee, Astle inflict maximum damage
Soumya was done in for pace as he lobbed a return catch to Southee off an inside edge in the very first over. Off the next delivery, Das walked across to paddle, only to see his middle stump flattened by a full and furiously straight delivery. Opener Mohammad Naim muscled his way to two sixes, but the entertainment was all too brief, as he was one of four victims of legspinner Todd Astle, who was playing his first game of the season.
One of those wickets, to dismiss Afif Hossain, was particularly impressive. Imparting plenty of revs on a wrong' un that he landed on a length to get bounce - almost Rashid Khan-like, he beat a swinging Afif Hossain's slog sweep with part-time wicketkeeper Devon Conway effecting a smart stumping. He finished with figures of 4 for 13. Southee then returned to take another, although he missed his hat-trick in doing so. It wasn't a batting performance Bangladesh would want to remember.
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