Comeback kings conquer the world
As comebacks go, Pakistan's turnaround from World Twenty20 whipping-boys to champions was as utterly unexpected as it was stirring to the soul. Phoenixes might want to consult copyright lawyers, soap opera scriptwriters think about upping their game.
Battered by England by 48 runs at The Oval a fortnight earlier, comprehensively outplayed by Sri Lanka at this same venue nine days ago, Pakistan looked goners - disorganised in the field, toothless in attack and radars uncalibrated at the crease.
That they could be raising the sport's newest trophy at the home of cricket, with thousands of their green-shirted supporters cavorting in the late afternoon sunshine, seemed scarcely believable.
Oh we of little faith. We've been here before, of course. Pakistan's previous global triumph, the 1992 World Cup win, was pulled off in similar circumstances.
Back then it was Imran Khan's famous talk of "cornered tigers" that inspired them to victory after just one win in their first four matches. This time skipper Younus Khan spoke of WWE wrestling. Enjoy yourself, was the message. Have some fun.
And boy did they have some fun, no one more so than Shahid Afridi. Boom-Boom blew away South Africa in the semi-finals and did another demolition job in the final - 1-20 off his four overs, 54 not out off 40 balls to steer his side home with eight balls to spare.
What made it special was the serious stuff that provided a backdrop to it all. Pakistani cricket has endured a dreadful few years, from the ball-tampering row which dominated their last trip to English shores to the untimely death of coach Bob Woolmer at the last World Cup. Just 110 days ago the attack by gunmen on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore threatened to make them outcasts of the international game.
That they are now at the celebrating centre of it all is something that should give even neutral cricket fans a sense of pleasure.
Two years ago in Johannesburg, Pakistan seemed to have the World Twenty20 trophy in their grasp, only for India to snatch it away at the death. Not this time. From the moment Mohammad Aamir dismissed the tournament's top scorer, Tillakaratne Dilshan, for a five-ball duck, Sri Lanka were wobbling. Abdul Razzaq's three wickets in 13 balls wiped out the middle order, and while Kumar Sangakkara's captain's knock of 62 not out gave the pre-match favourites hope, 138 always looked gettable on a pitch devoid of demons.
It was fitting that Afridi was the man to dash the winning run. Here is a man capable of matching Imran's one-day deeds, of inspiring the same sort of fanatical devotion among his cricket-loving countrymen.
For once, Sri Lanka's M&Ms melted away in the Lord's heat. Mendis, the most economical bowler in the tournament, went for 34 from his four overs; Muralitharan and Malinga could do nothing to halt the flow of runs.
Umar Gul, the Waqar Younis of his generation, didn't need to have his greatest game. His 13 overall wickets were enough to top the bowling tables, an exact repeat of his deeds two years before. Just behind him was Saeed Ajmal, a spinner so inventive he bowls doosras as a stock ball.
As both spectacle and commercial proposition, this World T20 was a success from almost-start to finish.
Once the rain that washed out the opening ceremony had cleared, the Netherlands lit the tournament with an orange glow by proving to England fans that things can always get worse.
The pace barely relented from there - West Indies' stunning demolition of Australia, Ireland qualifying for the later stages of a major international tournament for the second time in two years, South Africa carrying all before them only to crash once again at the penultimate hurdle.
For those who have derided T20 as a slogfest with the subtlety of sledgehammer, there were innovations from both batsmen and bowlers - Dilshan's patented Dentist's Nightmare sweep, Gul's counterintuitive slow bouncer.
Spinners prospered, from Mendis and Afridi to McCallan and Ajmal, while England's gamble on a young leggie paid off to such an extent that Adil Rashid's Test debut has probably been brought forward several series.
Out-fielders routinely did things that once only Jonty could do. The merits of old-fashioned wicket-keeping were highlighted by stumpers standing up and keeping batsmen chained to the crease.
Tournament director Steve Elworthy barely stopped smiling as the numbers came in - total gate receipts of close to £15m, 96% of the available tickets sold. The experiment with two matches a day at each venue worked for fans and players alike. Running the women's tournament simultaneously opened up new audiences and made new stars.
The inaugural World Twenty20 two years ago might have seen more sixes (265 compared to 166 this time) and a tighter final, but the 2009 version moved everything else on several notches. If there were moans, they were to do with the pressing need to give Duckworth-Lewis the T20 makeover, or from the sickbed of the 50-over World Cup.
England? Fantastic. Ashes, World Cup, Twenty20 - bring on the open-top bus parades. What's that - you meant the men? Bang on par. No more, no less than their form and line-up deserved.
As ever with this format of the game, the key to maintaining its rude health will be to keep it from doing too much. The next World Twenty20 is due to take place as soon as next year. It's possible to have too much of a good thing.
Sometimes, even in a competition designed to gorge us on thrills and spills, less can still be more.