Sri Lankan cricket fans erupt in celebration after almost elusive WorldT20 title (w/gallery)



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Sri Lanka cricket fans carry their national flag in Colombo, Sri Lanka, as they celebrate while watching on television Sri Lanka's victory in the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup final in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday, April 6, 2014. Sri Lanka won the title defeating India by six wickets. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

BHARATHA MALLAWARCHI
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s cricket fans took to the streets to celebrate their team’s World Twenty20 title on Sunday, waving flags, cheering and lighting firecrackers.

Sri Lanka chased down India’s modest 130-4 in 20 overs in the final for its biggest cricket victory since the 1996 World Cup title.

The team lost in the World Twenty20 finals in 2009 and 2012 to Pakistan and West Indies, respectively. The side also fell to Australia and India in the World Cup finals of 2007 and 2011.

“We are happy. We have been waiting for this for a long period since we won the World Cup in 1996,” said Gihan Weerakoon, a businessman from Gampaha, a town north of capital, Colombo.

Saminda Pradeep, a 23-year-old clerk, said he was just 5 years old when Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup. “I don’t remember well that victory. So this will be a sweet memory in my life.”

Sri Lanka Cricket, the sport’s governing body, has arranged an elaborate welcome home for the team on Tuesday, with an open-bus parade planned from the airport to the centre of Colombo.

The players will also receive $2.5 million as a participation fee and bonus for winning.

20:27ET 06-04-14

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