Cup report cards
Who were the stars and who were the flops? We give you a team-by-team breakdown.
By Graeme Mair
Last Updated: 04/04/11 3:22pm
After six weeks and 49 matches spread across three countries, India emerged victorious at the 10th edition of the World Cup.
As the dust settles on the co-hosts' triumph, skysports.com gives you a team-by-team breakdown of how each of the 14 sides fared.
The empire has crumbled. Having won the past three tournaments, Australia arrived in the subcontinent under pressure after surrendering the Ashes on home soil. Pakistan ended their incredible World Cup winning streak at 34 matches during the group stage and India ruthlessly dumped them out of the tournament in the quarter-finals, despite Ricky Ponting's defiant century. The spinners, Jason Krejza and Steve Smith, were badly exposed and, shortly after returning home, Ponting resigned as captain.
Despite home advantage throughout the group stage, Bangladesh fell short of making the quarter-finals. The batting was to blame as embarrassing collapses scuppered their chances against West Indies and South Africa. Victory over England was the highlight but they were fortunate that Ireland pressed the panic button when in a winning position. More frustrating for their passionate fans, the batsmen constantly repeat the same mistakes and little progress seems to have been made in the last few years.
An inauspicious start saw Canada crushed by Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in their opening two games but they improved thereafter to emerge as a modest success story. They threatened one of the great World Cup shocks after bowling out Pakistan for 184 before their run chase fell short, despite having been 104-3 at one point. The North Americans did, however, manage to beat fellow minnows Kenya.
The longest of winters took its toll on England, who had been on the road since the start of November and arrived at the tournament on the back of a 6-1 ODI series loss to Australia. Andrew Strauss' men did manage to make the quarter-finals after being involved in six thrilling matches during the group stage. The embarrassment of defeats to Ireland and Bangladesh was tempered by a high-scoring tie with India and low-scoring victory over South Africa. Having added the scalp of West Indies thanks largely to James Tredwell's heroics to make the last eight, England exited with a whimper, hammered by Sri Lanka under the Colombo floodlights. Injuries saw four players return home during the tournament, among them star batsman Kevin Pietersen and bowling spearhead Stuart Broad, leading to heavy criticism of the winter schedule.
Victory in Mumbai provided a fairytale ending as local boy Sachin Tendulkar finally claimed a long-coveted World Cup winners' medal. It had not been entirely plain sailing during the group stage when a tie with England and defeat to South Africa, combined with the stifling weight of expectation from a billion home fans, briefly threatened to disrupt even Mahendra Singh Dhoni's inner calm. But it all came together in the knockout phase, dethroning Australia in the quarter-final and following up with the sweetest of wins over great rivals Pakistan in a high-pressure semi-final. Tendulkar took centuries off South Africa and England to leave himself tantalisingly poised on 99 international hundreds ahead of the final against Sri Lanka in his home city. It was not to be the Little Master's day as, instead, Gautam Gambhir and Dhoni led India to a victory target of 275 for their country's second World Cup success, 28 years after they shocked West Indies at Lord's.
The standout among the associate nations, Ireland showed enough to suggest they could be the next country to elevate themselves to the top table. Kevin O'Brien's 50-ball century paved the way for a shock - and shocking - victory over England and they had their chances against both Bangladesh and India.
The worst team in the competition, it was sad to see the depths to which they have tumbled since the heady days of their semi-final appearance in 2003. They were totally out of their depth, particularly with the bat, and were soundly beaten in all six matches, including by five wickets against fellow minnows Canada. This is likely to be the last we see of Kenya at a World Cup for a long time.
It was a tale of what might have been for the men in orange, who missed the chance to beat England in their opening game and struggled thereafter. Ryan ten Doeschate struck two centuries, including one in a total of 292 against England, but the bowling lacked firepower and their tournament ended with a disappointing six-wicket loss to Ireland.
Given they came into the event on the back of a year's worth of horrible ODI form in the subcontinent, New Zealand once again exceeded expectations. Sri Lanka inflicted a sixth defeat out of six in World Cup semi-finals for the Black Caps to bring an end to Daniel Vettori's reign as skipper. Most pundits had predicted they would be heading home a game earlier, when they defended a modest total of 221 to instead send South Africa packing.
The pain of yet another World Cup defeat to India remains raw but Pakistan can still take plenty of positives from a tournament that finally saw them emerge from a dark couple of years. Shahid Afridi's men, shorn of some top-class talent due to last year's match-fixing scandal, produced some exciting cricket to top Group A. An outstanding bowling attack, led by Afridi himself with 21 wickets, carried an inconsistent batting line-up. The highlight came with victory over Australia to end the defending champions' 34-match unbeaten run in World Cups, which had started in the wake of their defeat to Pakistan at Headingley in 1999. West Indies were swept aside by 10 wickets in the quarter-final but a familiar roadblock loomed large in the last four and Pakistan were unable to cope with the pressure of chasing 261 and fell to a 29-run defeat.
South AfricaIt was the same old story for the Proteas, who brought the curtain down on Graeme Smith's one-day captaincy with one of their trademark meltdowns from a winning position in their quarter-final against New Zealand. Having qualified top of Group B, South Africa were 108-2 in pursuit of a target of 222 against the Black Caps when Jacques Kallis' dismissal was the start of a collapse to 172 all out. It was a huge shame as a squad boasting an unusually good trio of spinners in addition to their always excellent pace attack had looked well equipped to finally end the country's run of World Cup heartbreak, which dates back to their inaugural appearance in 1992.
Bridesmaids for the second World Cup in a row, Sri Lanka looked the class of the tournament before falling to India at the final hurdle. The most consistent top four in the tournament - Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene - provided plenty of runs for a bowling attack featuring an array of unique and outstanding talent. Swing maestro Lasith Malinga again proved his liking of the white-ball formats with a hat-trick against Kenya to become the first man to achieve the feat twice in a World Cup, having managed four in four against South Africa in 2007. England and New Zealand were swept aside in Colombo in the knockout rounds but the decision to drop Ajantha Mendis among four changes to their final line-up came back to haunt them as India chased down a target of 275 for a six-wicket win. Hobbled by injuries throughout the tournament, Muttiah Muralitharan's international swansong was something of an anti-climax.
The recriminations of another disappointing campaign have already started in the Caribbean with coach Ottis Gibson threatening a clear-out of senior players. West Indies showed glimpses of better times ahead, Kemar Roach produced some fiery spells and proved altogether too much for the Netherlands with a hat-trick. West Indies' skittled Bangladesh for 58 and bullied the Group B minnows to ensure a quarter-final spot, where they failed to turn up against Pakistan, bowled out for 112 on the way to a 10-wicket loss.
Zimbabwe punched their weight, beating Group A whipping boys Canada and Kenya - and losing comfortably to everyone else. The spin attack impressed, the seamers did not, and the batting remains too flaky for a Test return to be considered a good idea in the near future. They are, however, a talented squad back on the rise after the troubles of recent years.