The 2011 Cricket World Cup was declared open by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday amid thunderous applause at a colourful ceremony at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.
Hasina hoped the World Cup will stengthen the ties between the cricketing countries.
"I congratulate the cricket loving public for their great enthusiasm and cooperation to make this event a grand success," she said.
Paying tributes to her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, father of Bangladesh, Hasina recalled how he steered the famous language movement.
She also extended her thanks to the International Cricket Council (ICC) for selecting Bangladesh as one of the hosts.
She then declared the tournament open and placed her palm on a scanner setting off series of breathtaking fire works.
ICC president Sharad Pawar called it a "historic" day and said this is one of the World Cup championship which will always be remembered.
Earlier, the spectacular opening ceremony began with the Bangladesh national anthem "Amar Shonar Bangla", composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore of India.
After the national anthem and the welcome song, the mascot "Stumpy" entered the stadium on a cycle-rickshaw, followed by the captains of 14 competing nations on decorated cycle-rickshaws, the most popular mode of transport in Bangladesh.
The grand opening ceremony was conducted by India's premier event management company Wizcraft Entertainment, which also organised the opening and closing shows of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.
The two-hour, 15 minute-long ceremony will see around 3,500 performers putting up a colourful depiction of Indian, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi culture, complete with song sequences by well-known artists like Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, Indian singer Sonu Nigam and Bangladesh-based Runa Laila.