Bangladesh takes on tournament favorites India in the opening match of the 2016 Asia Cup cricket championship, in a match that will stream live from Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh which hosts the Asia-wide tournament for the third year in a row. But one thing about the 13th edition of the Asia Cup — the only continental championship in world cricket — is very different.
This year, for the first time, the Asia Cup will be played in T20 format, rather than the 50-overs One Day International mode in which all of the previous tournaments have been contested, allowing the Asia Cup this year to serve as a warm-up for the T20 World Cup in India, which opens just days after the Asia Cup Final on March 6.
Bangladesh — who must survive a qualifying round to make the final group stage of the World T20 — will play their first World Cup T20 match just three days after the Asia Cup concludes.
For Bangladesh, and possibly for India as well, the toughest test of the 2016 Asia Cup comes in the first match, when the two teams square off against each other. India comes in as the top-ranked T20 side in the world and Bangladesh is ranked 10th. But the rankings are perhaps skewed by the fact that the Tigers focused on ODI cricket for most of 2015.
Watch a preview of Wednesday’s Bangladesh vs. India Asia Cup T20 cricket opening match, courtesy of IANSLive TV, in the video below.
To find out how to watch a live stream of the 2016 Asia Cup opening T20 match, Bangladesh vs. India, see the streaming information in the final paragraph of this article. The match is scheduled to get underway at 7:30 p.m. India Standard Time at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Wednesday, February 24.
For cricket fans in the United States, that start time converts to 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, 5:30 a.m. Pacific.
India faces two key questions heading into the Asia Cup. The first regards the health or captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who was felled by muscle spasms during a training session on Monday. Whether Dhoni will be fit to take his usual place in the India XI Wednesday night had not yet been decided by earlier in the day.
The other question is whether India can handle the fast, but tricky bowling of 20-year-old sensation Mustafizur Rahman, who grabbed the attention of the cricket world when he made his international debut last June and promptly became only the second bowler in the history of the ODI game to take consecutive five-wicket hauls in his first two matches.
The opponent for Mustafizur and Bangladesh in those matches — India.
India batsmen have yet to prove that they can handle Mustafizur, who could prove the difference in the crucial opening Asia Cup match. The only question for the young star, appearing in his major first international tournament, is whether he can handle the pressure of the big stage.
“Mustafizur doesn’t really have a clue about all of this attention,” Bangladesh Captain Mashrafe Mortaza told ESPN Cricinfo on Tuesday. “And I am sure that even if he notices these things, he doesn’t spend too much time thinking about it. I think it is something he was born with, that he doesn’t really take pressure upon himself. He is always confident.”
Mortaza, however, also stressed that Mustafizur cannot beat India on his own.
“The India batting line-up is a tough one,” he said. “We have to make fewer mistakes as a bowling unit to do well in this game.”
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A live stream of the 2016 Asia Cup T20 opening match, India vs. Bangladesh, will be provided in India by Star Sports at this link, as well as via CricHD at this link. The most reliable way to receive the live stream in the United States, however, is via YuppTV who has purchased exclusive rights to all 11 2016 Asia Cup matches. YuppTV will charge a US$9.99 subscription fee to live stream the entire Asia Cup cricket tournament, and can be accessed at this link.
[Featured Photo By A.M. Abad/Associated Press]