Bennett 'gets one over' Bangladesh after seven-year wait
It has been almost seven years since fast bowler Hamish Bennett made his ODI debut for New Zealand. In that series, he played two ODIs, against Bangladesh in Bangladesh, and New Zealand were humbled 4-0. Bennett remembers that series clearly, and was especially pleased that, on Wednesday, when he made his return to international cricket after three years - his previous ODI appearance was in January 2014 - New Zealand got the better of them.
"It was a really good feeling," Bennett said after New Zealand's four-wicket win in the Ireland tri-series. "To be honest, I didn't think I was going to get another game after Hamilton in 2014. But, especially good to win against Bangladesh after losing there 4-0, good to get one over them."
Bennett made his debut when he was 23, but had never managed to cement his place in the New Zealand first XI. Now, with a few first-choice players away at the IPL, Bennett slotted in and was simply happy to play with some of the friends he has made on the domestic circuit. "It was good to get out there. I've always wanted to play international cricket with Neil Broom, Tommy Latham and Ross [Taylor] as well," he said. "So it was good to play a game for New Zealand with a couple of good mates."
That New Zealand had to chase only 258 was courtesy Bennett's final two overs, where he conceded only three runs off the bat and took three wickets. His short-pitched deliveries against the Bangladesh middle and lower-order paid rich dividends, and he said that his plan to be patient and force his opponents to make mistakes held him in good stead.
"You get lucky at the death sometimes - it goes one way or the another," Bennett said. "It went my way today but my main job was to attack on that slower surface, it was just about trying to put the balls in the good areas. It was just about trying to contain them and get them to do something silly.
"I think, in one-day cricket, you can afford to be a little bit patient with the ball because eventually the batting team will have to come at you. My mentality was just about trying to be patient and wait for them to make the play. I didn't want to go searching too much, just wanted to keep building pressure."
Bennett, who was described by half-centurion James Neesham after the game as "one of the best death bowlers in New Zealand", finished with figures of 3 for 31 and Bangladesh were kept to 257 for 9. But both players felt their team's fielding effort was not up to scratch - the Bangladesh innings featured several misfields with players letting balls through or diving over them, overthrows that went to the boundary, and dropped chances - which left them chasing more than they should have been.
"The target could easily have been a little bit less, we were a little sloppy, in the field," Bennett said. "We should've kept them to about 230, but we never really had any run-rate pressure [in the chase], so it's a fair reflection that 250-odd was a good score to chase."
Man-of-the-Match Neesham, whose 48-ball 52 shepherded New Zealand home with 15 balls to spare, said: "We bowled a bit better than 260-odd. If we're honest with ourselves, our fielding let us down a bit, and 20-30 runs went abegging. You've got to chase the target you're set and doing it with 12 balls to spare or whatever was ideal."