Dhaka - Sri Lanka fans at home burst firecrackers and danced on the streets
as the national team won the World Twenty20 title beating India by six
wickets in Dhaka on Sunday.
Instant celebrations broke out at
cricket grounds and public parks in the capital Colombo as well as in
suburban towns where thousands of fans watched the game on giant
President Mahinda Rajapakse telephoned the Sri
Lankan team in Dhaka to congratulate them for their biggest cricket win
since the 1996 World Cup, his office said.
"A short while ago, the President spoke to the team and officials and congratulated them," an official said.
took to the streets tooting their horns and waved the national Lion
flag to celebrate what many saw as a historic win bringing back memories
of 1996 when Arjuna Ranatunga brought home the 50-over World Cup.
"Congratulations Sri Lanka," said President Rajapakse's legislator son, Namal Rajapakse. "Well played boys. Good game."
Lanka went into the game with the offer of a million dollar bonus if
they shed their reputation as chokers in the final against India.
cash-strapped Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board had said it would treble
the money it had previously promised if the team returned home from
Bangladesh with the trophy.
"The Executive Committee of SLC which
met at an emergency meeting this morning and decided to offer $1.5
million (including the original fee of $500,000) to the national team
players in the event that they win the final," the board said in a
Sri Lanka were the beaten finalists last time round
when they lost to the West Indies even though they were the tournament
hosts. They have also been beaten in the final of the last two 50-over
Sri Lankan fans heaped praise on Kumar Sangakkara and
Mahela Jayawardene, the stalwart duo who will retire from the shortest
form of the game, for their final performance.
veteran left-hander knocked a 35-ball 52 not out in his last Twenty20
match to guide Sri Lanka's chase of a modest 131-run target in 17.5
overs at a packed Shere Bangla stadium.
As Thisara Perera hit
Ravichandran Ashwin for a winning boundary to seal the win, finishing
with 21 not out, fans at home shouted in joy and motorists kept on
toothing their horns.
Sri Lanka Cricket officials said the
national team was due back Colombo on Tuesday, but they could be flown
out earlier to celebrate at home on Monday.