The Bangladesh Tigers national cricket team finally returns to the pitch after a six-month layoff, when they play the first of three one-day international matches against Afghanistan — a match that will stream live from Dhaka as the heavily favored home side prepare for the arrival of England in less than two weeks.
The last time Bangladesh played cricket as a national side came on March 26, when the T20 version of the Tigers fell to New Zealand to wrap up a winless group stage in the ICC T20 World Cup.
Afghanistan vs Bangladesh1ST ODI 25Th September2ND ODI 28Th September3RD ODI 1sT October pic.twitter.com/G37AplQD5UBut the ODI squad has been absent from international cricket even longer. Their last outing of what became a banner year in 2015 came on November 11 when they completed a three-match whitewash of Zimbabwe.
— Jahan Sports ® (@Jahan_Sports) September 14, 2016
Last year also saw the Tigers take ODI series wins over Pakistan, India and South Africa — all after advancing to the knockout stage of the 50-overs version of the Cricket World Cup for the first time.
The string of series victories was sparked by the dramatic emergence of left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman, who quickly became recognized as one of the world's most dominant and exciting bowlers — despite making his debut at the tender age of 19.
A shining star today,A legend tomorrowMustafizur Rahman pic.twitter.com/mY2OcpqfokBut Mustafizur has spent much of 2016 battling a shoulder ailment, which kept him out of the Asia Cup, and forced him to cut short a stint with English county side Sussex.
— Machaao App (@MachaaoApp) September 13, 2016
The dynamic young bowler will miss the entire Afghanistan series.
The Bangladesh TV channel GTV will broadcast the ODI series against Afghanistan, and the channel -- which broadcasts in the Bengali language -- makes a live stream available via YouTube. Watch the first ODI stream live via GTV in the video below.
Otherwise, for an English language live stream, see the streaming links at the bottom of this article. First ball is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Bangladesh Standard Time on Sunday, September 25, at Shere-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in the country's capital city of Dhaka.
For fans in the United States, the live stream will get underway at 4:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 1:30 a.m. Pacific.
While Bangladesh is considered by most cricket watchers to be the prohibitive favorite against a spirited but still developing Afghanistan side, whether the six-month hiatus — 10 months from ODI cricket — will show up as rust in their game remains the open question of Sunday's match.
"Not playing for a long time is a bit of an Achilles's heel for us," Bangladesh Coach Chandika Hathurusinghe said on Saturday. "That is what we are trying to get over, that uncertainty. The first match is vital for us. We have no concern over any skill part – batting, bowling or fielding. It is all about the mental side of the game – getting into the game, playing in front of a crowd for your country."
Bangladesh host Afghanistan having not played a match since #WT20Will Afghanistan catch them off guard?https://t.co/oklpoIGCgH pic.twitter.com/dt4yc2KTALPacer Taskin Ahmed, who was suspended during the T20 World Cup for an allegedly suspect action, has fixed his delivery to the satisfaction of cricket authorities, and his return will give a morale boost to the Bangladesh team.
— ICC (@ICC) September 24, 2016
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The best way to watch the Bangladesh vs. Afghanistan First ODI cricket match from Shere-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh, live online in the United States is through Willow TV, which is available via this YouTube link with a monthly subscription fee, as well as on Willow TV's own site, accessible by clicking here.
But there are legal ways to watch Willow TV for free. Certain promotional offers make it possible to watch the all-cricket network, including the entire Bangladesh vs. Afghanistan three-ODI cricket series, for a limited period of time, such as the offer at this link.
But the most reliable method is to use the 30-day free trial of Sling TV's International Sports Package, which includes Willow TV and the Bangladesh vs. Afghanistan First ODI cricket match. Information on how to sign up for the free and legal Sling TV offer can be found by clicking on link. Note that the Bangladesh vs. Afghanistan First ODI will start on the Willow Extra channel, and then switch to the main Willow TV channel upon the conclusion of the India vs. New Zealand Test match stream.
[Featured Image By Matt King/Getty Images]