In the eyes of Australia’s senior players, their World Cup campaign is both a success and a complete missed opportunity.
Because such is the rapid transformation of Australian cricket in the past 12 months, it is virtually impossible to judge.
Australian players were clear following Thursday’s semi-final loss to England that they would have taken a semi-final finish amid the turmoil and crisis of 2018.
“The last 12 months – if you told us we would have been in a semi-final and come second in the group stage we would have been really happy,” quick Pat Cummins said.
However, if you’d suggested to them last week they wouldn’t advance past the final four, they would have been furious.
“In terms of where we were 12 months ago, obviously I think we have made a huge amount of progress,” captain Aaron Finch added.
“But at the same time we came here today to win a semi-final and get ourselves into a position to win another World Cup.
“So very disappointing.”
From the depths of 21 losses in 25 matches, Australia somehow found a recipe for success.
Aaron Finch and the returned David Warner scored big runs at the top, while Mitchell Starc took the wickets to bowl Australia to victory.
They won eight of their first nine matches, and looked set for top spot and a semi-final clash with New Zealand.
But then in one week in Manchester it came crashing down.
Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell were hit at training by Cummins and Starc.
The bowlers didn’t get it right early in the last match against South Africa as the wickets flattened out ahead of the finals.
And when Usman Khawaja strained his hamstring in the chase, Australia were off to Birmingham to face England.
Where for the first time in history, Australia lost a semi-final with their eight-wicket defeat to England.
“We came here today expecting to win,” Finch said.
“We felt like our preparation leading into the tournament and then the momentum we’d built-up through the tournament was really good.”
Australia won’t play one-day cricket again until January in India – the home of the next World Cup.
In the next four years Australia will need to map out an approach for 2023, including working out where the one-day game will go in that time.
A lesson can also be taken from England, who began plans and started their one-day revolution almost immediately.
“After a World Cup you always start looking and you have one eye towards the next one,” Finch said.
“I’m sure over the next couple of months or so we will sit down and start talking.
“And start planning how we think that we can best plan and prepare and improve over the next four years to get us to go, well two steps further.”