India vs Pakistan might be grabbing all the headlines in Pool B at the moment, but once the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 really gets cracking, the second group promises a few more humdingers.
Apart from India and Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and the UAE constitute the rest of the group, with the latter three trying to pick up a couple of upset wins and sneak into the quarterfinals at the expense of an established Test playing nation.
Below is a quick look at all the seven teams of Pool B, with key player pick outs as well.
India: The defending champions don't go into this World Cup in great form, having failed to pick up a single competitive win ever since they flew down under for the tour of Australia and then the tri-series.
The batsmen have just not clicked once the ODIs have come along, while the bowling leaves a lot to be desired. But India does have this unerring ability to step it up when required – one of the hallmarks of MS Dhoni's side – and, even with underwhelming form, they should make it to the quarters, most probably in the top two.
Key players: Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni
South Africa: AB De Villiers and co. come into the World Cup in tremendous form and as one of the clear favourites. Too many times, the Proteas have failed in these big tournaments, which is why that "C" word keeps following them.
There really are no excuses for South Africa this time around – they have a stunning batting lineup, led by Hashim Amla and De Villiers, the best batsman in the world, and the best fast bowling trio of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.
Pressure and handling it will be the key factor that decides South Africa's fate at this World Cup.
Key player: AB De Villiers (of course).
Pakistan: The always unpredictable side have not had the greatest of preparations – losing their premier spinner Saeed Ajmal, and then their fast bowler Junaid Khan and finally the experienced Mohammad Hafeez.
There are a quite a few unknown factors in the side, and you never know how they will perform, even if they are outrageously talented. Therefore, the onus will be on the likes of Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi to lead from the front.
Key player: Shahid Afridi
West Indies: WI have struggled almost every time they have played of late, with their big players unable to come to the fore often enough. However, when you have names such as Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Smith and Darren Sammy in your lineup, no team can take them lightly.
With Sunil Narine out of the side, their bowling has been weakened, while only time will tell just how good/bad the decision was to leave Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard out. The selectors have put way too much pressure on Jason Holder, handing him the captaincy reins, and the senior players will need to help him out as much as possible.
Key player: Chris Gayle
Zimbabwe: The South African side impressed in both their warm-up games, troubling New Zealand with the ball and then chasing down a big total against Sri Lanka. But then a practice match is a practice match, and how they stand up to the World Cup test remains to be seen.
Key player: Brendan Taylor
Ireland: Always an entertaining side, the Irish will look for an upset or two again at this World Cup – they have already beaten Pakistan and England in the 2007 and 2011 World Cups respectively. With plenty of the players from the last World Cup still in their side, they will want to smash a couple of teams and make a real go at clinching a quarterfinal place.
Key players: Kevin O'Brien and George Dockrell
UAE: The weakest team on paper in the group, and perhaps even the entire World Cup, UAE will want to prove they are not just in Australia and New Zealand to make up the numbers. Having said that, though, they have to show some serious skills on the field for the entire 100 overs – something the Associate sides struggle to do against the Test playing nations more often than not – if they are to create an upset.
Key player: Khurram Khan
Prediction: South Africa and India really close for the top spot, with the Proteas just shading it. Pakistan come in third, followed by West Indies, who overcome an upset from an Associate side to just go through to the final eight.