It's always a mug's game trying to predict winners in an event such as the ICC Cricket World Cup. One prediction I feel reasonably confident about is that Australia will not win its fourth consecutive title.
I'm neither Robinson Crusoe nor Robertson-Glasgow when I rate India as the favourites, with most of their matches played on home soil. Their opponents in the final will be South Africa - that's if, of course, the Proteas can make it that far for the first time.
Because of the seeding of the two groups, I have serious doubt that any of the four qualifiers - Ireland, Canada, Kenya, the Netherlands - can reach the quarter-finals. The disappointing thing is that the qualifiers were decided almost two years ago. Afghanistan only just missed the cut in the World Cup Qualifiers in South Africa back in April 2009. Since then, they have gone from strength to strength, including an appearance at the 2010 ICC World Twenty20, and victory in the 2010 four-day Intercontinental Cup.
If the qualifiers had been held a year later, Afghanistan would surely have gained a berth. Whether they could upset any of the established nations would be an item of extreme interest. Sadly, they (and the other Associates) might not get their chance in the 2015 World Cup, set for Australia/New Zealand, unless the ICC come to their senses.
I'm not going to predict the group matches game-by-game, suffice to pick the qualifiers for the quarter-finals:
In group A: Sri Lanka, Australia, Pakistan and Zimbabwe will qualify. New Zealand, Canada and Kenya will not.
In Group B: India, South Africa, Bangladesh and England will qualify. West Indies, Ireland, Netherlands will not.
Eliminated in the quarter-finals: Australia, Bangladesh, England, Zimbabwe.
Eliminated in the semi-finals: Pakistan, Sri Lanka.
Runners-up: South Africa. Winners: India.