Sri Lanka celebrates biggest cricket win in 18 years

COLOMBO, April 6, 2014 (AFP) – 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 television screens.

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.

Motorists 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.”

Sri 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.

The cash-strapped Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board had