|| AFP ||
England beat Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to win the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday and round off four weeks of high-octane action in Australia.
It was destined in the eyes of their fans to be an India versus Pakistan final.
But nobody told openers Alex Hales and Jos Buttler as they put on an outstanding display of batting in the semi-final against India in one of the finest English displays of all time.
In front of a packed pro-India crowd at the Adelaide Oval, unbeaten man-of-the-match Hales blasted 86 off 47 balls and skipper Buttler struck 80 not out in a scarcely believable 10-wicket annihilation.
It was particularly satisfying for Hales, who only returned for the World Cup after more than three years in the international wilderness.
Ireland came into the Super 12 stage with a giant-killing reputation after they knocked out two-time champions West Indies.
But Andrew Balbirnie's team were not done there as they upset pre-tournament favourites and eventual champions England in a rain-hit match.
Balbirnie led from the front with a brisk 62 in Melbourne to set a 158-run target and England were 105-5 when rain stopped play, five runs behind the DLS par score.
"It's amazing, kind of emotional," said man-of-the-match Balbirnie after another famous win.
Australia's title defence got off to a nightmare start and it ended up costing them a semi-final place.
The hosts, holders and pre-tournament co-favourites -- along with England -- suffered an 89-run drubbing by New Zealand in the first game of the Super 12.
It came back to haunt Aaron Finch's men as they finished below New Zealand and England in Group 1 on net run rate.
"We were just totally outplayed in all three facets," said Finch.
South Africa choke
It was a sunny Adelaide morning when South Africa's players started warming up for their must-win match against the Netherlands, but that was about the only bright spot on a dark day for them.
Colin Ackermann powered the underdog Dutch to a challenging 158-4 with his quickfire unbeaten 41 and then the Netherlands bowlers worked their magic.
A powerful-looking Proteas batting line-up crumbled under pressure and their World Cup was over in a flash when all they had needed to do was win to clinch a last-four berth.
In a tournament full of shocks, arguably this was the biggest -- and it handed Pakistan or Bangladesh that last semi-final place, which Babar Azam's side grabbed.
India's Virat Kohli came into the tournament on the back of his maiden T20 century in September and enthralled over 90,000 delirious fans at the MCG with a match-winning 82 against arch-rivals Pakistan.
His two sixes off Haris Rauf at the end of the 19th over went down in folklore as his side chased down their victory target of 160 on the final ball of a match that launched India's campaign.
"King Kohli" went on hammer three more half-centuries as he beat former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene's total of 1,016 runs to become the highest run-scorer in tournament history.