To kick off the Asia Cup 2016, we are in for a treat, as India take on mighty Bangladesh in what will be a fiercely contested battle. February 24th has been set as the date when these two cricket powerhouses will fight for first blood in what promises to be a wonderful tournament. Most fans will have one eye on the following weekend, as the title holders, Sri Lanka, take the first step in defending their cup and pit their wits against the host nation-Bangladesh.
The tournament will take the same format as the Twenty20 for the very first time, with all 11 matches being played at Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. The 25,000 seater is named after AK Fazlul Haque, a well known Bengali statesman in the first half of the 20th century. The first ever test match played there was actually against India in 2007, when India came out on top by an innings and 239 runs, Bangladesh will be hoping for a reversal in this year’s battle.
Asia Cup 2016 Teams
- Sri Lanka
- TBD (winner of 2016 Asia Cup Qualifier)
*Find Asia Cup 2016 Cricket Schedule at the bottom of the post
Batsman Imrul Kayes has been recalled to the 15 man squad to take the place of Tamim Iqbal, who will take miss the tournament to spend time with his first born child.
Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium
The switch of the national stadium; from the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka, to its present home in Mirpur, was met with strong resistance. The Bangladesh Cricket Board were adamant though, that cricket needed a stadium all on its own, dedicated entirely to the country’s most popular sport. Its most advanced feature, the drainage system, is considered the best in the subcontinent, important; given the monsoon rains from June to October. Check out the stadium here
Stadiums weren’t always this advanced though, here are five historic stadiums in Bangladesh.
M. A. Aziz Stadium
Also known as Chittagong Stadium, this stadium has a lot of history. It was famously used as headquarters during the war of independence in 1971. It was surprising they won the war even though they were armed only with cricket bats and balls they found lying around the stadium. The main cricket venue of the port city is now the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. The last test match took place in January 2005 when Bangladesh narrowly lost out to Zimbabwe
Bangabandhu National Stadium
Formerly the national stadium, the Bangabandhu National Stadium is now since March 2005, used exclusively for football. Named after the founding father of Bangladesh, it was not without virulent resistance that the Sher-e-Bangla took over the reins as the national stadium for cricket. The Bangabandhu is the only venue in the world to have hosted an inaugural home fixture for two Test nations, on both occasions-India.
The stadium is almost camouflaged in the heart of Dhaka. It blends into the hustle and bustle of the city given the sheer quantity of stalls around the perimeters of the stadium.
Shaheed Chandu Stadium
This former international cricket stadium is located in the northwest of Bogra. There is both a swimming pool and a theme park in front of it. To the west, there is also a big farm, an ideal destination for a school trip. It became a Test cricket venue in March 2006 but later in the year, saw it’s last international game played out just before Christmas, this game was versus Zimbabwe. Perhaps these encounters with Zimbabwe are so fierce, stadiums crumble in the aftermath. The absence of an international airport was the death knell for its tenure as an international cricket stadium.
Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium
Boxing fans would be forgiven for thinking this had something to do with Mohammed Ali but it’s more closely linked to the last ruler of the State of Hyderabad, reputed to have been the richest man in the world in the early 19040s. The stadium hosted the World Cup warm-up match between England and Pakistan in 2011 and was the venue for the 2014 Asia Cup first round match. The last One Day International in the stadium was when Bangladesh played Afghanistan. Locals will want to forget the day they became the only Test nation to have lost to Afghanistan.
Sylhet International Cricket Stadium
This stadium was constructed in 2007 and is one of the most scenic of Bangladeshi cricket stadiums, surrounded by hills. The stadium hosted its first international when Zimbabwe played Ireland (A mighty nation)**. The last match hosted here was Ireland versus the Netherlands in the ICC World Twenty20. Both teams were hoping to qualify for the Super 10’s, the match holds quite a few *records.
*Netherlands scored the fastest 100 in 6.6 overs- the fastest in the T20
Asia Cup 2016 Cricket Schedule – Asia Cup 2016 fixture
|1||India vs Bangladesh||24 February 2016||19:00 IST (13:30 Uk time)|
|2||Sri Lanka vs Qualified team||25 February 2016||19:00 IST|
|3||Bangladesh vs Qualified team||26 February 2016||19:00 IST|
|4||India vs Pakistan||27 February 2016||19:00 IST|
|5||Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka||28 February 2016||19:00 IST|
|6||Pakistan vs Qualified team||29 February 2016||19:00 IST|
|7||India vs Sri Lanka||01 March 2016||19:00 IST|
|8||Pakistan vs Bangladesh||02 March 2016||19:00 IST|
|9||India vs Qualifier team||03 March 2016||19:00 IST|
|10||Pakistan vs Sri Lanka||04 March 2016||19:00 IST|
|11||Asia Cup Final||05 March 2016||19:00 IST|
So where will you watch the game?