It's how all tournaments should be, and not just because England, you know... won [still seems strange to be writing those words]. It was succinct, sharp and progressive on and off the field. T20 is a subtly different to time last year, more understood by players and coaches and driven ever forwards by some quite extraordinary skills.
If you want to obscure brilliance, hide it in plain sight. In 1979, as a young pup, I went the England v West Indies world cup final at Lord's with my dad. We watched from under the clock in the old Compton Stand as West Indies, led by King Viv's 138 and Collis King's brutal, forgotten 86, got the total to 286 in 60 overs. Back then, a score like that looked like the sheer ice cliffs of Everest [England lost by 92 runs].
That's how much the game has changed. It was fitting, as this new hurricane of power settled in to stay, that the man who kick-started the modern one day game, Sanath Jayasuriya, most likely took his leave. The old fella's an MP now, a venerable man, yet - as Joe Frazier's trainer said to Joe after the 14th round in Manila - 'it's over, but no-one will ever forget what you did'. In the golden glow of hindsight, Sri Lanka in '96 lit the way.
So as the game speeds ever on - England start a Test match next week - we should sit for a minute and reflect on the pace of change, demonstrated as much by England's development as by anything else. Here's the player-by-player:
137 runs at 19.57, SR 141.23, HS 33
If ever you need an example of stats meaning everything and nothing, look at Lumb. He didn't score heavily, but he was all about intent. A Hayden-sized unit, brutal straight and square, his mindset never altered. He places the correct value on his wicket. Some newspaper writers do not fully understand this yet, but they will... England's tone setter.
222 runs at 31.71, SR 116.84, HS 63
When KP went home for the birth of little KP, he watched a bit of England's third super-eight game on TV. He noted how still Kieswetter kept his head - the true mark of batsmanship. His hitting is thrilling, and he hits in complimentary areas to Lumb, making bowling plans a nightmare. All he needs to do is learn how to knock a single.
248 runs at 62.00, SR 137.77, HS 73*
Anyone watching the IPL would have been unsurprised by Pietersen's resurrection. Yes, he's recaptured his game, as he said in every interview. But he now understands absolutely what it is to bat at three in T20 cricket. The position is his. Indelibly, he confronted and destroyed the tournament's two fastest bowlers, Shaun Tait and Dale Steyn - mental disintegration in practice.
61 runs at 10.16, SR 103.38, HS 16
Forget the form, what he gave and gained is priceless. Earned that MBE now, hasn't he...
183 runs at 36.60, SR 128.87, HS 55
The freak. Witness the joy of the new. Has ice in his blood too. When people ask if he can play Test cricket or not, just remember that they didn't believe KP could, either. It's peculiarly English to be suspicious of a] talent and b] change. Morgan embodies both.
90 runs at 30.00, SR 123.28; 1 over, BB 1-5, Econ 5.00
That over is worth a mention - Wright showed nerve, and got Cameron White with a thoughtful wider ball. There's a case for having a full-on batter at six. Wright needs to accept the challenge and become one.
20 overs, BB 2-19, Econ 6.80; 8 runs at 4.00, SR 114.28, HS 8*
An inspired selection. Just goes to show that there is something endlessly weird about a bloke who runs up slow and bowls faster than you'd think. It's been working forever.
22 overs, BB 1-20, Econ 7.18; 41 runs at 21.50, SR 136.66, HS 23*
The Michael Lumb of our bowlers - set the tone. He's a million miles from Botham but he has something of Beefy's clarity of approach.
22 overs, BB 3-24, Econ 6.54; 9 runs at --, SR 112.50, HS 7*
Well he won't shut up now, will he? Nor should he. There's wonderful skill to what he does, and bravery too. England's outstanding bowler.
20.5 overs, BB 2-21, Econ 6.72
Ian Chappell slaughtered Broad on commentary in the final, and you could kind of see his point. Plenty of teams would not tolerate the attitude, whatever he delivers. But the flip side of his moaning is the ballsy nature that had him catching Cameron White after making an arse of himself under a skier a few balls before.
21.3 overs, BB 3-23, Econ 7.44
It would be churlish to cavil - Sidders pulled it round - but he still looks England's most collarable bowler. Hard to see him keeping Jimmy Anderson out for much longer, especially in the sub-continent at the 50-over world cup, but Ryan, we'll always have Barbados...
Best story of the tournament: Afghanistan
The OB All-star XI:
1. Mahela Jayawardene [SL]
2. Craig Kieswetter [Eng]
3. KP [Eng]
4. Umar Akmal [Pak]
5. Eion Morgan [Eng]
6. Cameron White [Aus]
7. Daniel Vettori [NZ]
8. Mitchell Johnson [Aus]
9. Graeme Swann [Eng]
10. Stuart Broad [Eng]
11. Dirk Nannes [Aus]
The case for Matt Renshaw
2 weeks ago