In recent times, India vs Bangladesh has proved to be a nail-biting contest. The two neighbours, familiar to each other in every way but at the opposite poles in ICC rankings, have provided mouth-watering contests, especially in ICC events. Whether it’s the league match in 2007 World Cup or the group stage match in ICC World T20 2016 or the recent Asia Cup final or the World Cup 2019, every time Bangladesh has made their neighbour earn it rather than giving away.
In a couple matches out of the four aforementioned, MS Dhoni vs Sabbir Rahman contest proved to be one of the all-time fascinating rivalries. It all started in ICC World T20 2016 at M Chinnaswami Stadium-Bangalore, when Bangladesh were looking well placed to beat India for the first time in T20 World Cups. They needed just two runs from the last three deliveries of the match before Hardik Pandya turn the tables with 3 wickets of last three balls to close the match.
But it wasn’t all about the last three balls, MS Dhoni played a crucial role in bringing India back with two stumpings in a span of 11 balls. Till the halfway into the chase, Sabbir Rahman and Tamim both were stumped by the lightning fast electric hands of Dhoni to put break on the Bangladesh chase. After Bangladesh lost the match, Sabbir bowed to not repeat the mistake in future.
Soon came the occasion in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, again it was MS vs Sabbir in a mammoth chase of 315 with Yuzvendra Chahal weaving his magic. But how long Sabbir would have resisted coming down the wicket, as he soon charged down the wicket to hit Chahal but missed the ball altogether. But luckily this time, the left-hander managed to get back into the crease, before telling MS Dhoni, ‘Aaj Nahi’.
“Dhoni stumped me during the World T20 2016 in Bangalore. He was standing for stumping again this time also, I slide before him while running and told him that ‘Aaj Nahi’ [not today],” Sabbir told Cricfrenzy during a Facebook live.
Sabbir also revealed the conversation he had with MS about the latter’s hitting prowess. “[During the home series in 2015] I asked him [MS Dhoni] how you hit such big sixes. Whatever you hit becomes six, how. Tell me the secret of your bat. What is in your bat that we don’t have and as a result our sixes don’t go as far as your ones,” added Sabbir. “He told me that it is just confidence. Besides, there is nothing in my bat. If I think that I am going to be hit six, then there will be 90 sixes out of 100. That is confidence,’’ Dhoni said.
Sabbir and Dhoni seemed to have shared a good camaraderie on the pitch as he recalled an incident when he even asked MS Dhoni for one of his bats to play with against him. However, MS Dhoni, for the love he has for his country, promised to give his bat only on one condition, “Then I say to him give me one of your bats and I will try to play against you with that bat. He told me that not against us, you can play with another team but cannot play against me,” he signed off.