Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sri Lanka Revels in World Cup Win

COLOMBO -- Plagued by an ethnic war that has killed more than 50,000 people, Sri Lankans have at long last something to cheer about: They are kings of one-day cricket.


Frenetic celebrations in this cricket-crazy nation over its seven-wicket World Cup final victory over Australia on Sunday overflowed into Monday and left many offices deserted.


But nobody seemed to care.


"Everyone's smiling today and hardly any work is being done, but nobody will mind. This is a proud achievement for us," said stockbroker Sanjeeva Goonewardena.


Sri Lanka completed its stunning transformation from cricketing outcast to one-day world champion in a final which underlined the game's shifting balance of power.


The Sri Lankans, ignoring the history books which dictated the only way to win a World Cup final was to bat first, cruised past Australia's total of 241 for seven in 50 overs with 22 balls and seven wickets to spare.


"This is one of the best times in my whole life," said captain Arjuna Ranatunga, who hit the winning runs and shared an unbroken fourth wicket stand of 97 with century-maker and man-of-the-match Aravinda de Silva.


"I think it has done a lot for the country. We just wanted to win, whether it was Australia or England or whoever," he added.


Australian captain Mark Taylor admitted his team was "outplayed" in every department, not least in the field where half-a-dozen chances of varying difficulty went begging.


Australia's newspapers were less diplomatic.


"World Cup Agony," "Lankans Revenge" and "End of the World" screamed the headlines in two of the country's highest-selling tabloid newspapers after the match.


Asanka Gurasinha had at least three escapes on the way to 65, but De Silva's 107 not out from just 114 balls was a superb effort that Ranatunga described as "one of the best innings I've ever seen."


"When we won the toss we thought we had a very good chance if we could keep them to 250 or 260," added the captain. "I'm not a person who looks at history and we knew we could win batting second."


Ranatunga said there had been "one or two minor incidents" out in the middle, but otherwise claimed the match had been conducted in a reasonable spirit in the wake of Australia's decision not to play their group game in Colombo last month because of safety fears.


For Australia, Shane Warne, hindered by a greasy ball, disappeared for 58 runs in his 10 overs after watching the gentle off-spin of de Silva snare three wickets for 42, and many of his teammates also failed to rise to the occasion.


Stuart Law was guilty of the most glaring dropped catch, fumbling a skier from Gurusinha when the batsman had made 53, and the combined experience of over 1,000 one-day international appearances in the Sri Lankan order did the rest.


They needed 95 off the last 20 overs, then 51 off the last 10 and in the end reached their target with ease to ensure it was Ranatunga who collected the trophy from Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.


(For full statistics, see Scorecard.)