Steven Smith Australia Jos Buttler England
Steven Smith is expected to light up the World Cup for AustraliaReuters

Pool A, on paper, looks easily the more difficult of the two groups at the ICC World Cup 2015, with Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, England, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Scotland set to battle it out for those four places in the quarterfinals.

Australia, New Zealand – the two hosts -- England and Sri Lanka are the obvious favourites for those four quarterfinal spots, but with the likes of Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Scotland also in the same pool, anything really is possible, even if unlikely.

Pool B, while having pretty strong opposition as well, is perhaps a little more easy going than the four, and more, of Pool A.

Here is a quick look at the seven teams in Pool A:

Australia: The Aussies go into this World Cup as the favourites, considering they are in tremendous form and playing at home. If all goes according to plan, Australia should be one of the teams playing in the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 29 March.

They have a ridiculously strong batting lineup led by the likes of Steven Smith, Shane Watson and David Warner, while their bowling strength, particularly the pace attack, looks pretty good as well, with Mitchell Johnson leading the way.

There are no obvious flaws in this Australia side, and the only thing that might trip them up is the pressure and injuries worries over skipper Michael Clarke and James Faulkner.

Key player: Steven Smith

New Zealand: The second hosts of this World Cup have been in ridiculously good form as well, rolling over one top team after another. The Kiwis will play at home at least till the final, and that should give them that extra edge to move all the way to the semis.

In Brendon McCullum they have an astute captain and destructive batsman, while Kane Williamson is currently one of the best willow-wielders in the world. The bowling lineup is also particularly impressive and expect New Zealand to do well, like they always seem to, in ICC tournaments.

A pretty good batting and bowling attack, and if they play the big games well, then they could just win their first ever World Cup title.

Key player: Kane Williamson

Sri Lanka: The finalists in 2011 come with plenty of experience, especially in their batting lineup, led by the irrepressible trio of Tillakratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, who remains the only man to score a century in a World Cup final and end up on the losing side.

The batting is heavily reliant on these three, and Sri Lanka could be in trouble if the trio does not click. Bowling also depends heavily on the experienced Lasith Malinga, making a comeback from a long-term injury, while spinners Rangana Herath and Sachitra Senanayake could also play a big part, if the pitches in Australia and New Zealand allow them.

Key player: Lasith Malinga

England: The dark horse in the World Cup, in many ways. Not much is expected of this England side, and that might just work in their favour. They have a steady batting lineup, which on their day can be quite effective, while the bowling is England's undoubted strength.

In James Anderson and Stuart Broad, they have two high quality, class bowlers, while Chris Woakes and Steven Finn have have done pretty well in Australia so far.

For England, much will depend on how their batting goes. If Moeen Ali, also so crucial with the ball, and Ian Bell can get them off to good starts in the business end of the tournament, then they might spring a surprise or two.

Key players: James Anderson and Moeen Ali

Bangladesh: The team from South Asia have disappointed of late – promising so much, but rarely delivering. Having been on the international scene for quite a while now, they really should have been mixing it and beating with the biggies now, but that is still not the case, often enough.

Inconsistent and rash, Bangladesh have the talent to cause an upset or two, but they are likely to fall just short of the quarterfinal place.

Key player: Shakib Al Hasan.

Afghanistan: A highly entertaining team to watch, and one that a lot of the neutrals will want to do well. Afghanistan have pretty good strength in their bowling, especially at the top, with Hamid Hassan, Dawlat Zadran and Shapoor Zadran, but the rest of their bowling is pretty below par.

Their batting also leaves a lot to be desired, and much will depend on the experienced Mohammad Nabi, Asghar Stanikzai and Nawroz Mangal.

Key player: Hamid Hassan

Scotland: The Scottish were mighty impressive in the practice game against the more accomplished Ireland on Tuesday, and they will need more such performances if they are to make an impression in this seriously difficult group.

Form, long-term, would suggest that they will finish bottom of the pool, but with Paul Collingwood coaching the team, they just might be able to pull off their first ever World Cup win. The clash against England on 23 February should be a tasty one.

Key players: Scotland have a pretty strong batting lineup, and the likes of Callum McLeod, Matt Machan and Preston Mommsen will be crucial to their fortunes.

Prediction: No surprises, really as Australia to top the group, followed closely by New Zealand. Sri Lanka take third spot, while England, despite a couple of scares, finish fourth in the group to take that final place in the quarterfinals.

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