Chances of Success Rating : 8.0/10 (1st)
There is no denying the credentials of the Australian team. They finished top of the ICC Women's Championship standings by a clear margin, losing just three of their 21 ICCWC games - to England, India and New Zealand. Their record in this competition is beyond remarkable - they are the holders and they have won it six out of the 10 times times it has been staged. They have only twice not made it to the final.
In the last four years Australia have played 35 ODIs and lost just seven of them - four to England, two to New Zealand and one to India, plus they have tied a game with South Africa. When they need to win, generally they do.
This is why they are the favourites to land their seventh World Cup in the final at Lord's on 23rd July, but don't expect them to get everything their own way.
Lanning averages over 50 in ODIs and is ranked number one in the ICC ODI batting rankings. Perhaps slightly vulnerable early on, if she can get beyond her first few balls, Lanning bats big. In just 57 innings she already has 10 centuries (more than any other player in the history of the game) and 10 more 50s.
Perry, who used to be a fast bowler, who batted a bit, has transformed herself into one of the most consistent ODI batsmen in the world. Since the last World Cup, in 27 innings, she has scored a remarkable seventeen 50s and averages 78.77. She is yet to make it to three figures for Australia, but it would be no surprise to see her break that duck at this tournament.
The top five are supported by the evergreen Alex Blackwell, and keeper Alyssa Healy, which makes for a very strong batting line up. This is a side that can score a lot of runs, although with the exception of Lanning and Healy, the Aussie strike rate can be a bit pedestrian.
In the bowling department Australia have two match-winning leg-spinners - 32 year old Kristen Beams, and 20 year old newbie Amanda-Jade Wellington, plus left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen, and the highly regarded off-spining all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner.
The only weakness appears to be the Aussie seam attack, which seems odd to say when it is led by Ellyse Perry, who has the small matter of 113 ODI victims to her name to date, but as her batting has flourished, so her bowling has taken a bit of a back seat, partly through injury it has to be said. But she will spearhead the Aussie seam attack, probably in tandem with Megan Schutt, who has remodelled her action after having a tough year or so, when she seemed to lose the ability to swing the ball. Backing these two up are newbies Sarah Aley and Belinda Vakerewa. Neither have yet pulled on the baggy green cap for Australia, but with seven games in just 20 days, both may have a part to play.
Well led by Lanning on the pitch and by coach Matthew Mott, off it, Australia are deserved favourites to retain their World Cup crown, but they will be pushed all the way and cannot afford any slip-ups.