By unleashing Dolar and Rouble together, Bangladesh cricket showed they really meant business © Getty Images
By unleashing Dolar and Rouble together, Bangladesh cricket showed they really meant business. Picture Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

October 27, 2009. It could well have been just another Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe ODI at Mirpur, but the Bangladesh new-ball pair of Dolar Mahmud and Rubel Hossain certainly made the trivia-hunters jump with glee. Abhishek Mukherjee looks back at a day when currency took over Dhaka.

USA and USSR have not exactly been the best of friends when it came to diplomatic terms. Few would have expected the cricket-agnostic countries (though USA was one of the places where cricket blossomed in the 19th century) — in any form — to unite, that too in Dhaka. But on that day, on a green, cricket pitch, the spirits of Lumpy Stevens and Fuller Pilch looked down in horror as Bangladesh unleashed the dollar and the rouble on cricket field.

A Bangladesh versus Zimbabwe ODI attracted limited audience back in 2009. However, the moment Bangladesh announced their team list, keen observers noticed what was in store: would Dolar Mahmud and Rubel Hossain open bowling?

The match was an unremarkable one. Prosper Utseya put the hosts in. Elton Chigumbura, armed with the new ball, reduced them to 5 for 2. He also took the third wicket, and Bangladesh were reeling at 62 for 6 in the 20th over following twin blows from Chamu Chibhabha.

Naeem Islam hung around, helping Mushfiqur Rahim add 53 for the seventh wicket. Dolar walked out at 124 for 8, and his strike rate soared the way the dollar has done so often. He cover-drove Kyle Jarvis for four, and followed it with a six and a four over mid-wicket off consecutive deliveries.

On came Graeme Cremer, and Dolar went on fearlessly, lofting him over long-on and deep mid-wicket for consecutive sixes. By the time Hamilton Masakadza caught him at extra-cover off Jarvis he had piled up a whirlwind 30-ball 41 — in a 54-run stand.

The batsmen had crossed: Mushfiqur cover-drove the next ball for four to bring up his fifty; lofted the next ball straight; and was caught-behind two balls later for 56. Bangladesh were bowled out 186. Rubel, who had batted just below Dolar, was left stranded without facing a ball.

Dollar and rouble

Then it happened. Shakib Al Hasan tossed the ball to Dolar, who started with a no-ball. Rubel started things at the other end, much to the excitement of trivia buffs — but the rouble took a deep blow as Chibhabha took him for four and six in his first over.

Chibhabha went after Dolar as well, and when Shakib brought himself on, he hit for four. The score read 34 without loss after 7 overs. Abdul Razzak came on: the first ball went for five wides; the second, third, and fifth balls sent Chibhabha, Brendon Taylor, and Tatenda Taibu to the pavilion. 39 for 4.

Then the rouble rose in stature: it was a short-pitched ball, Masakadza cut it brutally, and Raqibul Hasan pulled off a spectacular catch at point. The dollar, of course, could not afford to fall behind: after a quick-fire 32 Charles Coventry top-edged a pull off Dolar and was caught at mid-wicket by a running Razzak. 90 for 5.

But the Bangladeshi hopes did not materialise. Chigumbura joined Stuart Matsikenyeri, and dished out severe punishment to the Bangladesh bowlers, racing to a 50-ball 60. Matsikenyeri provided perfect foil with a 55-ball 47, and Zimbabwe raced home with 92 balls to spare — and 5 wickets in hand.

Despite their stature, the dollar (5-0-26-1) and the rouble (8-0-59-1) were not successful in pulling off anything spectacular.

Brief scores:

Bangladesh 186 in 46.5 overs (Mushfiqur Rahim 56, Dolar Mahmud 41; Elton Chigumbura 3 for 27) lost to Zimbabwe 189 for 5 in 34.4 overs (Stuart Matsikenyeri 47*, Elton Chigumbura 60*; Abdul Razzak 3 for 36) by 5 wickets with 92 balls to spare.

Man of the Match: Elton Chigumbura.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here)