After a gruelling 42 matches in four weeks spread across 14 cities and two countries separated by sea, World Cup 2015 has finally got its top eight countries which will be playing in the quarter-final stage.
Co-host New Zealand finished unbeaten in Pool A, and defending champion India won six straight matches to top Pool B, an amazing form reversal after it failed to win a single competitive match on Australian soil in the two months leading up to the World Cup.
So, the quarterfinals will kick off Wednesday with 1996 champion Sri Lanka against South Africa -- which has never won a knockout match at the World Cup -- followed by India vs. Bangladesh in Melbourne, Australia vs. Pakistan in Adelaide and New Zealand hosting West Indies in Wellington on Saturday.
Pakistan dismissed Ireland for 237 and then chased down the result with four overs to spare. Opener Sarfraz Ahmed finished 101 not out, and Ahmed Shehzad scored 63.
"This was a pressure game," said Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq. "The fast bowlers ... bowled their hearts out. Sarfraz's was a brilliant knock. Very happy how he went on and stayed there till the end.
"Yeah of course we can win the World Cup. We have the momentum. The bowling is doing really well, the batting is beginning to do its part. On the day anything can happen."
Ireland captain William Porterfield scored a century, but said his team ended up too many runs short of a decent total to defend.
"We were a few runs light," he said. "All credit to the way they bowled. We would have liked a few more runs on the board. The confidence has been high throughout. The fans have been fantastic."
The two-time champion West Indies beat the elements in a six-wicket win over the United Arab Emirates on Sunday to secure a spot in the last eight.
Needing to win emphatically to press for a top-four place in Pool B, and with a tropical cyclone looming, the West Indies had the UAE reeling at 26-5 before recovering to reach 175.
With Tropical Cyclone Pam bearing down on New Zealand, Johnson Charles led the charge as the West Indies hurried to 33-0 after three overs and hit the winning runs within 32 overs, ensuring there was no washout.
"Obviously it was a must-win game for us and we needed to win by a big margin," said West Indies captain Jason Holder, who took 4-24 in the UAE innings. "We had the right intent. We were determined to finish the game before 36 overs which was key for our run-rate and did what was necessary to play an attacking game."
The West Indies were held up by a partnership between Nasir Aziz and Amjad Javed, who put on a record 107-run partnership for the UAE's seventh wicket and both scored their maiden ODI half centuries.
South Africa vs Sri Lanka: March 18, 9 am IST, Sydney Cricket Ground
India vs Bangladesh: March 19, 9 am IST, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Australia vs Pakistan: March 20, 9 am IST, Adelaide Oval
New Zealand vs West Indies: March 21, 6:30 am IST, Wellington