Allen has McCullum touch

Finn Allen is one of the three most exciting emerging Black Cap cricketers of the past summer. Photo ESPNcricinfo

Swashbuckling Finn Allen is only getting peanuts in the super-rich Indian Premier League compared with that which will make Kyle Jamieson a multi-millionaire but he’s over the moon.

And why wouldn’t he when he teams up for the Royal Challengers Bangalore with aggressive like-minded Indian captain Virat Kohli and South African slugger AB de Villiers?

Like Jamieson and Devon Conway, Allen is one of the three most exciting emerging Black Cap cricketers of the past summer. And at 21, 22 on April 22, the youngest. However, getting game time in such a powerful squad could be a problem.

Along with Conway, Allen was sensational for the Wellington Firebirds, scoring 512 runs in the Super Smash at a 56.88 average and a strike rate of 193.3.

A golden duck in his international debut in the second T20 against Bangladesh was followed by a magnificent 71 off 29 balls in the 10-over, rain-affected third at Eden Park.

With the Black Caps winning by 65 runs and claiming the series 3-0, Allen knows he will face tougher challengers in India when he gets his chance to bat. But he has the temperament and talent to overcome them.

With a fearless Brendan McCullum mentality that excites fans, Allen doesn’t yet have the exquisite knack of a Kane Williamson and Conway to pierce gaps in the field almost at will.

That will come and he couldn’t have better mentors than the incredible Kohli and de Villiers in the IPL whose team beat the Mumbai Indians a few days ago on the last ball thanks largely to de Villiers 48 runs from 27 balls and Glenn Maxwell’s 39 from 28.

Meanwhile Kiwi golf fans had cause to rejoice when Lydia Ko regained her magic touch when storming home with a course record 62 to finish second in the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California.

Having won it in 2018, it was the last of her two major successes. Her latest seven-under 29 front nine set the ANA scoring record and tied the lowest nine-round score of any major championship.

There was a heart-warming rhythm and confidence about her game that would have won her a third major but for the brilliance of Thailand’s 21-year-old Patty Tavatanakit who is coached by Kiwi Grant Waite.

Capable of driving well over 300 yards, Tavatanakit also knows how to chip and putt and will be the one to watch out for.

However, at still only 23, nobody is going to pension off our Lydia.

With golden point wins in extra time to the Chiefs and Crusaders over the Highlanders and Hurricanes respectively thanks to Damian McKenzie’s penalty goal and David Havilli’s drop goal, competition in Super Rugby Aotearoa remain tight.

Dynamic flanker Ardie Savea and aggressive fullback Jordie Barrett were standouts for the luckless Hurricanes who scrummaged well but had lineout wobbles, not helped by Dane Coles’ wonky throws.

However Coles’ general play was good in an interesting battle with opposing in-form hooker Codie Taylor.

Having just missed a 63m penalty, New Zealand hasn’t seen a goalkicker of Barrett’s prodigious length since the glory days of Don “The Boot” Clarke.

Unfortunately, he has a long way to go to emulate the accuracy of a Grant Fox or Daniel Carter.

  • Ivan Agnew is a award-winning sports writer

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