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NZ T20I tri-series final – ‘Incredible’ Michael Bracewell and ‘super aggressive’ Finn Allen earn KaneWilliamson’s praise

Bracewell, who is more of an all-rounder for his home side Wellington, emerged as the top wicket-taker in the T20I tri-series at Christchurch, striking eight in five games against a barely credible economy of 4.94. That return earned him the Player-of-the-Series award, although New Zealand lost the final to Pakistan on Friday.

Allen, who was chosen for Martin Guptill, showed his explosive power at the top, hitting just over 145 in five games. Both players have now made strong points to be in New Zealand’s starting XI for the T20 World Cup.

“Both performed beautifully and [they] played really valuable roles within the squad,” Williamson said at the post-match press conference.[They play] complementary roles too – Finn at the top is super aggressive and hits the ball really, really hard and seems to take it on which was great. And it complements Dev [Devon Conway] very good.

“Michael – Man of the Series – incredible effort, especially not to win the series as a team. He showed his contributions during these five-six games. He was really disciplined with his heights and made life quite difficult on these types of fields as good.”

In the final, Bracewell bowled two tight-overs in the power play in which he gave up just four runs and pulled a top edge from Babar Azam to midwicket. Mitchell Santner is normally New Zealand’s power play spinner, but Bracewell has shown he can throw the heavy overs against top hitters too. Bracewell also tied up Mohammad Rizwan, holding a run-ball 6 against him.

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“Tournament sport – it’s different and not playing against similar teams day in and day out. It’s thinking hard and adapting quickly as a side with different locations and different oppositions”

Kane Williamson

“It [bowling in the powerplay] is something I’ve practiced a lot now, especially in the nets and had a chance to go out in the middle and bowl a few times in the power play,” Bracewell said. Spark Sports. “It’s something I’m starting to feel more and more comfortable with. It’s obviously quite daunting to bowl to Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam. But it’s a challenge that I really enjoy.”

In last season’s Super Smash, Bracewell took just six wickets in 25 overs against an economy of 6.84. Bracewell has done well for New Zealand – both at home and away – and feels he is a more rounded spinner now than he was last summer.

“I’m very happy with the opportunities I have. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can and gain as much knowledge as possible from the rest of the spin bowlers in our group,” he said. “It’s an absolute privilege to be able to play in different conditions around the world. So I’m really enjoying it and I feel like I have a little more skill than eight months ago.”

With New Zealand carefully managing their injury-prone Quicks Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne, and Santner missing out on early tri-series exchanges, team management has had to juggle between finding their balance for the tri-series and preparing for the World Cup.

“It’s not really how we looked at this [tri-series]. We’ve looked at this tournament a bit in isolation,” Williamson said. “That said, there’s a big tournament at the end of it, but we’re trying to focus on what’s ahead and play the cricket that’s ahead. U.S. You can sometimes get carried away with looking ahead and all that sort of thing; so i thought that was good. There was some improvement throughout the series and some lessons.

“I think it’s valuable as a team to get this kind of exposure and competition quickly for a tournament like that. Tournament sport – it’s different and not playing against similar teams day in and day out. It’s being on our guard and adapting quickly as a side with different locations and different oppositions.”

New Zealand dropped at least eight catches in the tri-series, but Williamson wasn’t too worried about it. He drew confidence from New Zealand’s neat effort on the pitch on Friday in seclusion.

“That [dropped chances] was definitely touched [in team discussions]Williamson said. ‘Not just the catches; it can happen, although it was a little strange. As a side, it’s something we’re proud of, but that energy and intensity of how we work… we’ve definitely seen an improvement today, which is important and hopefully we can continue that standard.”

New Zealand will open their T20 World Cup campaign against defending champions and host Australia at the SCG on October 22.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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