The ninth Women's World Cup gets under way in Sydney on 7 March and will see 24 matches packed into 16 days.
Hosts Australia are hoping to retain the trophy they won in South Africa in 2005.
With the help of England's Claire Taylor, the number one batter in the women's rankings, BBC Sport offers a guide to the teams.
Karen Rolton wants to keep the trophy in Australia's hands
Squad: K Rolton (capt), S Andrews, A Blackwell, J Cameron, L Coleman, L Ebsary, R Farrell, J Fields, D Kimmince, S Nitchske, E Osborne, E Perry, L Poulton, E Sampson, L Sthalekar.
World Cup winners: 1978, 1982, 1988, 1997, 2005.
Last 10 ODIs: W7 L2 NR1
Player to watch: Karen Rolton - the most capped one-day player in the history of the women's game (131), she has hit more one-day centuries than any other batter in the women's game (eight), including one in the 2005 final, and is second only to former team-mate Belinda Clark in the list of all-time run scorers (4495). Other teams must find a way to dismiss her early.
Form guide: The holders showed by coming from 2-0 down to draw the recent Rose Bowl series in New Zealand that they are peaking at the right time.
What the captain says: "The team that wins the World Cup will be the team that is able to play at a consistently high level. We enjoy the challenge from the other teams and having to raise the level of our play to continue to be successful."
Claire Taylor's verdict: "The green and gold have lost some key players since 2005 - Belinda Clark, Cathryn Fitzpatrick, Julia Price, Julie Hayes, Lisa Keightley etc. They've brought through a new batch of players but these don't have the hardness of experience and don't strike fear like the old team. Saying that, they've yet to lose a one-day series and will prove tough competition."
Sarah Taylor batting against South Africa at Lord's last summer
Squad: C Edwards (capt), C Atkins, K Brunt, H Colvin, L Greenway, L Griffiths, I Guha, J Gunn, L Marsh, B Morgan, EJ Rainford-Brent, N Shaw, A Shrubsole, C Taylor, S Taylor.
World Cup winners: 1973, 1993.
Last 10 ODIs: W8 L0 NR2
Player to watch: Sarah Taylor - still only 19, she already has two one-day centuries behind her, including a magnificent 129 off 133 balls at Lord's against South Africa last summer, when she shared an opening partnership of 268 with Caroline Atkins, a record for any wicket in the women's one-day game.
Form guide: England have enjoyed a magnificent run of success in the past two years but have not played a competitive game since last summer. They must guard against a slow start.
What the captain says: "The World Cup is all about peaking at the right time and dealing with the pressure of big matches. I think this is going to be the closest World Cup in a number of years."
Claire Taylor's verdict: "Charlotte Edwards has taken the mantle of captain from Clare Connor and we've gone through a couple of coaches since the last World Cup. Now a settled team under Mark Lane and Jack Birkenshaw. We finished last summer on a roll and have notched up 14 straight wins since February 2008."
Skipper Jhulan Goswami is the spearhead of India's bowling attack
Squad: J Goswami (capt), A Chopra, A Deshpande, R Dhar, T Kamini, H Kaur, R Malhotra, S Naidu, S Naik, S Pradhan, M Raj, P Raut, P Roy, A Sharma, G Sultana.
Last 10 ODIs: W0 L9 NR1
Player to watch: Mithali Raj - former skipper and the key member of India's batting line-up. Her unbeaten 91 against New Zealand carried India to their first World Cup final in South Africa four years ago and overall she has scored over 3,000 runs at an average of 46.
Form guide: India underperformed on tours to England and Australia, hence their poor recent record, but the 2005 finalists should be good enough for a place in the semi-finals at least.
What the captain says: "We will respect every team and try to play consistently well. We have to avoid being complacent and stay focused and keep working hard."
Claire Taylor's verdict: "There has been lots of change in the India camp since 2005, with players falling out of favour with selectors, then winning their way back in. A new captain in Jhulan Goswami may bring a new approach but nine straight losses leaves them keen to prove their worth. There will be lots of pressure on Goswami with the ball and Raj with the bat."
All-rounder Sarah Tsukigawa hits a boundary for New Zealand
Squad: H Tiffen (capt), S Bates, N Browne, A Burrows, S Devine, L Doolan, K Martin, A Mason, S McGlashan, B McNeill, R Priest, K Pulford, A Satterthwaite, S Tsukigawa.
World Cup winners: 2000.
Last 10 ODIs: W4 L5 NR1
Player to watch: Aimee Mason - has risen up the order since making her debut as a teenager seven years ago and is now a capable opening bat with centuries against England and Australia to her credit. She is also the leading wicket-taker in the squad, having claimed 65 victims so far with her off-spin.
Form guide: New Zealand's results have been mixed but they did well enough in the recent home series against Australia to send them into the World Cup feeling quietly confident.
What the captain says: "I think Australia, New Zealand, England and India are of equal strength and any team can beat the other on its day. It is an open tournament with no clear-cut favourites. It boils down to the fact that the team that plays better on the match day will walk away the winner."
Claire Taylor's verdict: "The Kiwis have appointed a new coach since the last time we played them and it will be interesting to see the difference in approach. They went through a rebuilding process after the last World Cup and now have a settled squad. They welcome back Suzie Bates from Olympic duty and have some young quicks eager to make their mark. Watch out for run-outs; some from brilliant fielding, some from indifferent calling."
Sajjida Shah is the youngest ever international cricketer
Squad: Urooj Mumtaz (capt), Almas Akram, Asmavia Iqbal, Armaan Khan, Batool Fatima, Bismah Maroof, Javeria Khan, Nahida Khan, Naila Nazir, Nain Abidi, Qanita Jalil, Sajjida Shah, Sana Mir, Sania Khan, Sukhan Faiz.
Last 10 ODIs: W2 L8 NR0
Player to watch: Sajjida Shah - incredibly, she made her senior international debut against Ireland in July 2000 when only 12 years old. Now 20, she is Pakistan's leading one-day run scorer and also took 7-4 against Japan with her off breaks in a World Cup qualifier six years ago. However, facing Australia, England and New Zealand for the first time will be a big challenge.
Form guide: Pakistan have only played in the World Cup once before. Any victory would send them home happy.
What the captain says: "The reality is we are the eighth-ranked team in the world, we are short of international experience and exposure and we'll be competing against teams who we have either never beaten or never played. It leaves us with the task of scaling a mountain."
Claire Taylor's verdict: "An unknown quantity in the upper realms of international women's cricket; England last played them in the 1997 World Cup in India. Pakistan struggled against Sri Lanka in the recent tri-series, losing in the round-robin matches and in the final. They qualified for the World Cup by beating Ireland to the second qualification spot."
Trisha Chetty is a nimble performer behind the stumps for South Africa
Squad: S Loubser (capt), S Benade, C Brits, T Chetty, M du Preez, S Fritz, S Ismail, M Kapp, A Kilowan, M Letsaolo, A Smith, C van der Westhuizen, Y van der Westhuizen, D van Niekerk, C Terblanche.
Last 10 ODIs: W 5 L4 NR1
Player to watch: Alicia Smith - has the responsibility of opening the batting and bowling but needs to produce greater consistency in both roles if South Africa are to challenge the top four teams in the competition.
Form guide: South Africa remain hampered by a lack of international fixtures and have not played since last summer. If they play to their potential, however, they could reach the last four.
What the captain says: "Our target is definitely a top-four finish and we can achieve that target by going game by game. We come as a team and not as individuals. Everyone in the team is there for a reason."
Claire Taylor's verdict: "Another recent change to team captaincy as Loubser takes over; a competitive feisty character she will lead from the front with ball and bat. They don't have Johmari Logtenberg in this World Cup so will need Cri-Zelda Brits to step up and provide the anchor in the top order for the team to bat around."
Sri Lanka's Suwini de Alwis bowling against India
Squad: S Siriwardena (capt), S de Alwis, H Fernando, R Fernando, I Galagedera, G Kariyawasam, E Lokusooriya (aka D Kaushalya), D Manodara, C Polgampola, U Prabodani, D Rasangika, S Abeywickrama, D de Silva, S Weerakkody, C Wickremasinghe.
Last 10 ODIs: W6 L4 NR0
Player to watch: Hiruka Fernando - Sri Lanka's most experienced player, she returned to the squad last November after three and a half years away from international cricket. Her unbeaten 44 helped her side to victory over Pakistan in the final of a recent triangular tournament in Bangladesh.
Form guide: Have done well of late but it will be a surprise if they seriously trouble any of the top four teams.
What the captain says: "We have the talent to beat the best. We will not be short of any motivation or confidence. In Australia, we will try to translate the talent into winning performances."
Claire Taylor's verdict: "Tough times for Sri Lanka's women's cricket team, with players forced to choose between work and representing their country. They've just won a tri-series against Pakistan and Bangladesh but will find the difference in standards against the top teams a big step up."
Kirbyina Alexander is a leading member of the West Indies attack
Squad: M Aguilleira (capt), K Alexander, S Daley, D Dottin, A Fletcher, G Greaves, C Jack, SA King, P Lavine, DA Lewis, A Mohammed, S Selman, D Small, C Taitt. S Taylor.
Last 10 ODIs: W5 L4 NR 1
Player to watch: Anisa Mohammed - the 20-year-old from Trinidad bowls her off breaks tidily and her presence will be crucial as West Indies try to contain the scoring of the stronger teams.
Form guide: West Indies did reasonably well on a tour to Sri Lanka and have a keen, athletic squad. However, they may struggle for runs without injured Juliana Nero, their most capped player.
What the captain says: "Our strengths are our bowling and the fielding. We have some excellent spinners who can win matches for us. We are definitely looking to reach the Super Six stage and take it from there but we all know it will be tough going."
Claire Taylor's verdict: "With Sherwin Campbell as coach, this West Indies team are likely to be well-organised. We saw great potential in their bowling and fielding last summer, although they struggled to construct innings with the bat."