Over the years the World Cup has provided a grand stage for heroic cricketing deeds - as well as some costly errors.
The 10th edition of the International Cricket Council's 50-over showpiece, co-hosted by Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, certainly did not disappoint in that regard.
India thrilled their billion-strong nation by lifting the trophy in Mumbai, providing a fairytale triumph for local boy Sachin Tendulkar.
Skysports.com picks out some of the star performers over the six weeks, alongside some who should have stayed at home.
There has never been any doubting the Pakistan skipper's talent but too often in the past he has failed to do full justice to those gifts. Afridi's leg-spin, often regarded as the lesser string to his bow when compared to his batting, proved a major weapon on the subcontinent pitches. He finished as the equal leading wicket taker in the tournament, along with India's Zaheer Khan, on 21 - a major factor in Pakistan's run to the semi-final.
The leading run scorer in the tournament with an even 500, Dilshan and opening partner Upul Tharanga provided consistent starts for Sri Lanka at the top of the order. Dilshan notched up two hundreds and two half-centuries in nine innings and found the boundary almost at will - his 61 fours were nine more than anyone else managed. It was a shame he ended up on the losing side in the final for the second time in a row.
New Zealand yet again punched above their weight by reaching the semi-finals of the tournament - and no member of the squad surpassed expectations more than seam bowler Tim Southee. The 22-year-old is far from express pace and there had been fears his bowling would be cannon fodder on the flat subcontinent pitches. Instead, Southee bagged 18 wickets at 17.33.
While many of his team-mates showed signs of fatigue after a long winter, Trott kept on going and going. After a run-filled tour of Australia, he adapted immediately to new conditions and was a model of consistency at number three with five half-centuries in seven innings. Without his 422 runs - made at a strike rate just above 80 - England would not have made it as far as the quarter-finals.
Nobody in India's top order would be out of place in the hit section but Yuvraj Singh gets the nod as he also provided an unexpected threat with the ball. The left-hander came into the event after a difficult couple of years but made a superb return to form to be named player-of-the-tournament. The 29-year-old scored 362 runs, took 15 wickets with his spin bowling and won four man-of-the-match awards in nine games.
Anderson's allergy to the white ball, which seems to have developed as his career has progressed, reached new depths. Having carried England's attack to victory in the Ashes, the Lancashire seamer had little left to give during a World Cup campaign that saw him dropped after five matches. He managed four wickets costing 70.5 apiece and a woeful spell as Bangladesh's tail steered them to an improbable victory saw his participation come to an end, two games before Sri Lanka sent England packing at the quarter-final stage.
Krejza was selected as the only frontline spinner in Australia's squad after injury ruled out Nathan Hauritz. It always looked a big ask for a man who had played only one ODI before the start of the tournament - and so it proved. Krejza, an off-spinner who gives the ball plenty of flight, managed only five wickets in seven matches, failing to provide either the wicket-taking threat or the economy his side required in the middle overs. He was not alone, Shaun Tait and Steve Smith hardly covered themselves in glory as Australia surrendered the trophy they had held since 1999 - prompting the resignation of skipper Ricky Ponting.
When West Indies coach Ottis Gibson pointed the finger of blame for their quarter-final exit at the squad's senior players, Sarwan was one of the men in the firing line. The 30-year-old has an excellent overall ODI record but injuries and question marks over his commitment had seen him become a peripheral figure in recent times. Recalled ahead of the World Cup, the Guyanan did not respond in the expected fashion, instead managing only 155 runs at 25.83 in seven matches and scoring so slowly - an overall strike rate of 56 - as to put pressure on everyone around him.
Smith's reign as South Africa's one-day captain came to a disappointing end, on both a personal and team level. The Proteas, having impressed on the way to topping Group B, lived up to their reputation of crumbling under pressure as they collapsed from a winning position to lose to New Zealand in the quarter-final. Smith had a horrible time with the bat, averaging 26.14 in seven innings - his overall total of 183 runs coming at an unimpressive strike rate of 61.
The teenage opener was in red-hot form in the lead-up, scoring his maiden ODI century against New Zealand and adding another three-figure effort in a warm-up game. Pakistan finally looked to have found half the answer at the top of the order, which had been a problem area for most of the previous decade. Shehzad, however, was a total flop at the World Cup, managing 44 runs in five innings before mercifully being dropped.