Sri Lanka’s champion 1996 World Cup team led by Arjuna Ranatunga proved they are still formidable by thrashing Sidath Wettimuny’s Sri Lanka Legends by 7 wickets in a charity Twenty20 match played at the NCC ground in Colombo today (Jan. 12). The T20 match which was played as part of the Baby Cheramy Big Heart Project, to raise funds for needy children, drew a large crowd to the venue that came to witness the reunited 1996 cricket world champions after 18 years. Sidath Wettimuny’s Legends clad in a pyjama kit similar to Australia posted 130 runs for 7 wickets and the triumphant 1996 team, dressed in their World Cup winning kits, reached the winning target by scoring 138 runs for the loss of 3 wickets with 35 deliveries to spare.
Romesh Kaluwitharana top scored with an unbeaten 52 off 31 balls with two massive sixes and eight fours and went on to win the man-of-the-match award. Asoka de Silva grabbed all three wickets of the 96 WC team emerging as the most successful bowler of the game by claiming the wickets of Asanka Gurusinha and Aravinda de Silva. Gurusinha made 13 runs during his brief presence while Kaluwitharana and skipper Ranatunga who made 37 from 28 balls helped the 96 WC team with a useful partnership.
After Kaluwitharana and Ranatunga retired unbeaten Roshan Mahanama and Hashan Tillakeratne guided the team towards victory while remaining not out on 12 and 11 respectively.
Earlier Wettimuny, Hemantha Devapriya, Hemantha Wickremaratne, Eirc Upashantha and Chamara Silva made useful contributions to help the Legends post 137 for 7 wickets after being put into bat. Their openers Wettimuny and Devapriya shared 46 runs before Upul Chandana made the breakthrough. Chandana claimed the wicket of Devapriya who made 30 runs off 28 balls inclusive of two fours and three sixes. Wettimuny was run out for 16 runs and Wickremaratne went on to hit 30 runs from 28 balls. Eric Upashantha and Chamara Silva hit 25 and 23 runs respectively.
The match was part of the Big Heart Project which is an initiative to help propel the future of many young children in Sri Lanka’s children their education.
The project is being conducted in partnership with the Department of Probation and Child Care Services, of the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs.
SL Legends 130 for 7 wickets (20) (Sidath Wettimuny 16, Hemantha Devapriya 30, Hemantha Wickramaratne 30, Eric Upashantha 25, Chamara Silva 23.)96’ World Cup Champions 138 for 3 wickets (14.1) (Romesh Kaluwitarana 52, Arjuna Ranatunga 37, Asanka Gurusinghe 13, Roshan Mahanama 12 n.o, Hashan Tillakeratne 11n.o.)