Second seed the Netherlands, fourth seed Kenya and fifth seed Namibia are the front-runners to qualify for the Super Six stage from Group B of the World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand which will be staged from 13 January to 1 February.
Apart from these three sides, seventh seed Papua New Guinea (PNG) and 10th seed Uganda are the other two sides in the group, whose matches will be played in Mount Maunganui, New Plymouth and Lincoln.
The Netherlands finished fourth in the World Cricket League Championship behind winner Ireland, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Ireland and Afghanistan qualified automatically for the World Cup, while the UAE has been top seeded for the WCQ after being the highest ranked side in the qualifying championship.
The Netherlands is vastly experienced having previously played in the World Cup in 1996, 2003, 2007 and 2011. It also has a proud record at the WCQ, aka ICC Trophy, when it was the runner-up in 1986 and 1990, finished third in 1994, won the event in 2001 and was third in 2009 when the tournament was staged in South Africa.
Peter Borren, Mudassar Bukhari, Daan van Bunge, Pieter Seelaar and Eric Szwarczynski are the survivors from the 2009 campaign. Borren, who also represented New Zealand in the U19 World Cup in 2002, was one of the two batsmen to show form in the recently concluded WCLC when he finished with 280 runs at an average of 35.
Speaking about his team's chances in Group B, Borren said: "We have a very good chance of qualifying. I think we have a very well-drilled side that has a great balance of talent and experience."
Kenya, which finished sixth in the WCLC, is looking for a change in fortunes under new player-cum-coach Steve Tikolo and new captain Rakep Patel.
Kenya has many campaigners in its squad from 2009. Only Ragheb Aga, Duncan Allan, Irfan Karim, Shem Ngoche and Nelson Odhiambo didn't feature for the side in South Africa.
Kenya is the only team in the tournament to have played in five successive World Cups – 1996 to 2011. It also has a good record in the WCQ, having reached the semi-finals in 1990 and finished as the runner-up in 1994 and 1997. It managed a fourth-place finish at the last edition.
The Netherlands' and Kenya match in Lincoln on 23 January will be the only match in Group B that will be classified as an ODI.
On a head-to-head, the Netherlands and Kenya have played nine times with the Dutch winning seven matches, including victories in the last four ODIs.
Fifth seed Namibia finished seventh in the WCLC, winning two matches out of 12. The African side is looking to qualify for its second World Cup, after having played the 2003 tournament which was staged in South Africa.
For Namibia, captain Sarel Burger, JB Burger, Louis Klazinga, Bernard Scholtz, Nicolaas Scholtz, LP van der Westhuizen and Craig Williams were all members of the squad for South Africa four years ago.
Namibia finished eighth in the last edition in 2009. Its chances in this edition will hinge largely on the bowling form of Christi Viljoen, who took 23 wickets in the WCLC, and Raymond van Schoor, who scored 360 runs at an average of 30 in the same competition.
Assessing his opponents in Group B, Namibia captain Sarel Burger said: "I think you can't single out any team as the biggest threat or as the one to watch out for. Each one is a quality side, and we need to take them all on with full drive and accord them their due respect."
Papua New Guinea, which is seeded seventh in New Zealand, had finished third in the 1982 edition, but didn't go beyond the first round in 2001, finished 11th in 2005 and did not qualify for the 2009 edition.
PNG has earned the right to play in this event by finishing third in the World Cricket League Division 2, while Uganda has qualified for the event after finishing second in the World Cricket League Division 3.
Uganda has previously played three times in this tournament, having finished 10th in 2001, 12th in 2005 and 10th in 2009.
The top three teams from each group will progress to the Super Six stage. The top two sides at the end of that stage will not only reach the final but also qualify for the World Cup and complete the 14-team tally for that event, which will be staged in Australia and New Zealand from 14 February to 29 March.