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    In pics: Teams gunning for WC glory

    • The World Cup returns to the subcontinent after a hiatus of 15 years when India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka last hosted it in 1996. But with 14 teams taking part in 49 matches spread over 37 days of high-octane action hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the spectacle of ICC World Cup is set to touch new heights in 2011. (AFP Photo)

    • The No. 2 ranked ODI team, India, is in smoking hot form and stands its best chance to win the elitist tournament for the second time after 1983. Experts have put their weight behind India to lift the trophy on April 2 and going by form, it might just turn out to be the case. The legend of Sachin Tendulkar will grace the World Cup for the sixth and last time and the team has been raving about gifting the trophy to Sachin. Batting, led by Sachin himself, remains India's forte but the two things hosts have to guard against are injuries and fielding, which has hurt them badly in the past. (AFP Photo)

    • Even though they have been going through a rough phase, the defending champions are still the No. 1 ranked ODI team. They are definitely not looking as strong a side as they have been in the previous three editions but the opposition should be aware of their pedigree. Captain Ricky Ponting will be relying on Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson to get them the breakthroughs but the lack of quality spinners could really bother their campaign in the subcontinent. Ponting will be hoping that he gets back to form and that his other batsmen, especially Michael Clarke, contribute handsomely with the bat. (Getty Images)

    • A young team with a dynamic skipper, Bangladesh surely have more going for them in this edition of the tournament than ever before. Not only are they carrying the confidence of being able to pull off upsets, but playing at home with a partisan crowd to cheer is bound to give them that edge. Skipper Shakib AL Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Ashraful hold the key to their destiny in the World Cup. (AFP Photo)

    • Canada skipper, Ashish Bagai, is undoubtedly their most accomplished player. He has already scored two centuries in previous World Cups and will be hoping to add a couple more to the tally. John Davison and Rizwan Cheema are the others who could come good for the minnows, but it will take a miracle for them to win a game in this edition. (Getty Images)

    • After a see-saw time down under, where they won the Ashes but lost the ODI series 6-1, England look like a good team that needs to peak at the right moment. They surely have an impressive lineup with the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell and skipper Andrew Strauss in the lineup. The pace attack is fairly well settled with Stuart Broad and James Anderson in good form and spinner Graeme Swann could prove to be more than a handful in subcontinental conditions. (Getty Images)

    • The Irish team made heads turn in their two warm-up games, where they lost to New Zealand by just 32 runs chasing 311 and then came out to beat Zimbabwe by four wickets in a last-over thriller. They depend heavily on players like William Porterfield, Ed Joyce, Alex Cusack and Kevin O'Brien who have the skill to surprise oppositions. And if they click together, the World Cup should be ready for a shock similar to the one Ireland delivered to Pakistan in 2007. (Getty Images)

    • In 2003, the Kenyan team achieved that no other associate ICC member has ever repeated - a semifinal appearance in the World Cup. But they look far from being the same fighting unit they were in 2003. Steve Tikolo in batting and Thomas Odoyo in bowling will be their key hopes. But players like Seren Waters and Collins Obuya have earned World Cup berths on performance and will like to repeat their domestic success at the international stage and it doesn't get bigger than the World Cup. (Getty Images)

    • The orange brigade had a demoralising beginning after being thrashed by 156 runs in their warm-up tie against the mighty Sri Lankans. But star all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate showed in the second practice game against Kenya that their win over England in the T20 World Cup was no fluke. His 98 gave the Dutch a win and a signal to their Group A opponents to not take them lightly. (Getty Images)

    • Among the Test playing nations, New Zealand had the most unfortunate run leading up to the World Cup. Losing 14 of their last 16 ODIs, including a 4-0 embarrassment at the hands of Bangladesh, it couldn't have been worse. Having said that, it would be insane to take the talented Black Caps lightly. Led by Daniel Vettori, the Kiwis can be unbeaten on their day and are electric in the field. Brendon McCullum can tear any opposition apart and if the two veterans (Vettori and McCullum) get the support they need from the team, they may go all the way. (Getty Images)

    • Dangerous and unpredictable, but bruised and battered as well. Pakistan came into their own on the tour of New Zealand where they looked to have come out of the spot-fixing shadow and won both the Test and ODI series. A delay in naming the skipper was farcical to say the least when Shahid Afridi seemed the most obvious choice despite Test skipper Misbah ul Haq's splendid run with the bat. But the team and administrators seemed to have got their act together just in the nick of time. Though it doesn't look likely, it will be foolish to take them lightly, especially in subcontinent conditions. (AFP Photo)

    • The Proteas must be welcoming the less hype around their team in this edition. One of the top contenders for the Cup, South Africa would be relieved to get the monkey called 'Chokers' off their back and take centre stage at an ICC event. There is no dearth of talent in this team but what they need is to transform the individual brilliance of a de Villiers or a Steyn into team's success. That's what South Africa will be thriving for in this World Cup. (Getty Images)

    • Sri Lanka has never looked back after the 1996 World Cup when they not only became champions but also changed the face of ODI cricket forever. But the most refreshing aspect of Sri Lankan cricket is the way youngsters took the baton from the legends and have kept the momentum going. The youngsters of those times - Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene Lasith Malinga, etc., have now become celebrated figures in world cricket and present one of the biggest threat in this World Cup. Like the Indians want to do it for Sachin Tendulkar, the islanders too would like to transform Muttiah Muralitharan's swan-song into his second World Cup success. (Getty Images)

    • Darren-Sammy will lead a West Indies side that has got a new lease of life with the comeback of veterans Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. While they will provide a fillip to the Caribbean flair, much will still depend on how Chris Gayle fires at the top. An in-form Gayle makes a world of difference to the West Indian team who now doesn't have bowlers to tear the opposition apart with sheer pace. Another major worry is lack of quality spin options for Sammy who will be dependent on the lanky Suleiman Benn to thrive on spin-friendly subcontinent tracks. (Getty Images)

    • The lesser-known African team, which is trying to get out of a political mess, is no longer as potent as it used to be when oppositions never discounted them. But with dangerous players like Elton Chigumbura, Tatenda Taibu, Charles Coventry and Sean Williams in the team, they remain a threat for their opponents in Group A. (Getty Images)