The Bangladesh cricket team faces a possible upset threat when they open their 2016 T20 World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on Wednesday, but with the Tigers in top form after an Asia Cup that ended just three days earlier, the team is expected to make it through their qualifying round unscathed, with matches against Oman and Ireland to follow in Group A.
The winner of each of the two qualifying groups enters the T20 World Cup Super 10, where the road gets considerably more difficult as Bangladesh — if they qualify — will enter a group with Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, and tournament host and favorite India, and likely cannot afford to lose more than one of those games to have any hope of advancing to the tournament semifinal.
Bangladesh hosted the Asia Cup championship for the third straight time and made their way all the way to the final for the second time — but in that match, played on March 6, the Tigers could not get past a ruthless India side who appear in dominant form as a T20 unit heading into the World Cup on their home grounds.
Watch highlights of that Bangladesh vs. India Asia Cup final in the video below.
To find out how to watch a live stream of the Bangladesh vs. Netherlands T20 Cricket World Cup qualifying round opening match for both teams, see the streaming links at the bottom of this article. The match, the third overall in the T20 World Cup qualifying stage, is scheduled to get underway at 3 p.m. India Standard Time at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala, India, on Wednesday, March 9.
Cricket fans in the United States will need to take nap earlier in the evening to stay up and watch the Bangladesh vs. Netherlands match. The U.S. start times for the live stream will be 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time, 1:30 a.m. Pacific.
PREVIEW: Bangladesh are in great T20 form, but will be wary of giant-killers Netherlands. @lk_karthik previews: https://t.co/lSizNQzGUkIn the tournament's opening match, Qualifying Group A favorite Zimbabwe suffered a scare against Hong Kong, but held on for a 14-run victory. Watch highlights of the Zimbabwe vs. Hong Kong match in the video below.
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) March 8, 2016
In the 2014 T20 World Cup, Netherlands played their way out of the qualifying round and into the Super 10, where they scored the most shocking upset of the tournament, beating England, after defeating Ireland in the qualifier.
But Dutch Captain Peter Borren knows where his team stands in relation to Bangladesh this time around.
"I think Bangladesh are clear favorites, which is not affecting us in terms of pressure. It is a good thing for us."
Bangladesh Captain Mashrafe Mortaza said that though his team has had almost no practice time with the back-to-back tournament schedule, the players nonetheless feel prepared. But the weather in Dharamsala in the northernmost, mountainous reaches of India near the Tibet border has already been an issue.
"We will take much confidence from the Asia Cup final. India is similar but here (Dharamsala) there is difference. You need to adjust to the breathing in particular. It was cold last night and we have to play two matches in night. We will have to adjust and play at our best."Bangladesh remain without star bowling prodigy Mustafizur Rahman, who was held out of the final two Asia Cup matches with a side strain, and is reportedly still recovering.
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Star Sports will carry a live stream of the match at this link. But the most reliable way to watch the Bangladesh vs. Netherlands T20 Cricket World Cup qualifying round opening match for both teams via live stream in the United States is through Willow TV, which is available via this YouTube link, as well as on the Willow app for mobile devices or on Willow TV's own site, accessible by clicking here with a monthly subscription fee.
There are legal ways to watch Willow TV for free. Certain promotional offers make it possible to watch the all-cricket network, including the Bangladesh vs. Netherlands T20 Cricket World Cup qualifying round opening match, such as the offer at this link. The best bet would be the one-month free trial of Sling TV's International Sports Package, which includes Willow. Information on that deal can be found at this link. The India-based site CricHD will also carry a stream at this link.
[Featured Photo By Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images]