Bangladesh stands on the verge of their first major cricket championship — but blocking their way will be India, the heavy Asia Cup favorites. The rival sides square off Sunday in the 2016 Asia Cup Final match. For Bangladesh, the March 6 final could put an exclamation point on what has been perhaps the most significant and exciting 12 months in Bangladesh cricket history — beginning on March 9 of last year when the Tigers scored a shock victory over England in the ICC Cricket World Cup.
That win, at the Adelaide Oval in Australia, sent Bangladesh into the knockout round of the world’s most prestigious cricket competition for the first time ever. But Bangladesh was just getting started, and as the summer went on, the Tigers racked up a string of stunning series victories in the One Day International format, sending Pakistan, India, and South Africa, as well as Zimbabwe, all home wondering what hit them.
But Bangladesh was less successful in the T20 format, playing only nine matches over the past 12 months prior to the Asia Cup, losing five and winning just four.
Bangladesh opened the 2016 Asia Cup, played in T20 format for the first time, and hosted for the third straight year by Bangladesh. They fell to India by a definitive 45 runs, and it appeared as if the Tigers’ T20 struggles would only continue.
And then Bangladesh faced the United Arab Emirates, and a clear, 23-run victory seemed to be just what the doctor ordered for Captain Mashrafe Mortaza and his men, as they went on to upsets of Sri Lanka and arch-rival Pakistan to clinch a spot in the March 6 final.
But to take home their first major trophy, Bangladesh will have to find a way to defeat India, who breezed through the four-game Asia Cup group stage undefeated, holding two of their opponents — UAE and Pakistan — to well under 100 runs each.
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) March 2, 2016
Watch highlights of the dramatic Bangladesh victor over Pakistan in the video below.
To find out how to watch a live stream of the India vs. Bangladesh Asia Cup T20 Cricket Championship Final, see the streaming links in the final paragraph of this article. The big match is scheduled to get underway at 7:30 p.m. at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Sunday, March 6.
For fans in the United States, that start time will be 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, 5:30 a.m. Pacific.
While Bangladesh fans have been ecstatic over the Tigers’ run to the 2016 Asia Cup Final, the Pakistan faithful were distraught and outraged to see their team fall hard first to arch-rival India, and then to another historical rival, Bangladesh.
— Dexter (@MunnaKaTunna) March 2, 2016
Mortaza was also in high spirits after his side’s win over Pakistan, a win that secured a place in the final, but promised that his team would remain focused on the goal of defeating India.
“The final match is still to be played. I advise everyone to keep their feet on the ground and play their natural game. I ask them not to take any extra pressure,” Mashrafe said. “The players had confidence and it worked. We will try to give our best. If we can, it will be a great game.”
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A live stream of the 2016 Asia Cup T20 Grand Final, Bangladesh vs. India, 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 $7.99 USD fee to live stream the Asia Cup T20 cricket Final, and can be accessed at this link.
[Featured Photo By A.M. Ahad/Associated Press]