India's women cricketers commence their World Cup campaign with a Group A match against the West Indies in Mumbai on Thursday.
The day-night clash will set the ball rolling for the event, which will also have matches in Cuttack, where the Pakistan team (placed in Group B) is based due to security concerns in Mumbai.
Group A matches will be held at Mumbai's Brabourne stadium, MIG Club at Bandra and the Bandra-Kurla Complex ground of the Mumbai Cricket Association.
Group B matches, involving strong contenders Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan, will be staged at two grounds in Cuttack.
The remaining group fixtures for India, who finished third in the last championship, are against three-time winners (1973, 1993 and 2009) England at the Brabourne on February 3, and qualifiers Sri Lanka at the same ground on February 6.
Prior to that England take on Sri Lanka on February 1 at the Brabourne.
Sri Lanka will lock horns with the West Indies on February 4 at the MIG ground, while the England-Windies clash on February 6 is at the BKC.
Apart from Mithali Raj, India are banking on former captain Jhulan Goswami, diminutive batter Poonam Raut, wicketkeeper Sulakshana Naik to get runs on the board.
The bowling attack is spearheaded by Gouher Sultana and Niranjana Nagarajan.
"We have senior players like Jhulan Goswami, Amita Sharma, vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who has been among runs. We have two comeback players (Murugesan) Thirush Kamini, Karuna Jain, who have played the last World Cup. I am hoping that with this kind of combination, we will do very well," said world No 1 batter and India’s captain Mithali.
England, led by Charlotte Edwards who is playing her fifth successive World Cup, are tipped to top the group and commence their bid to win the crown for the fourth time with a game against Sri Lanka on February 1 at the CCI.
The second and third place in the group will be a hard-fought contest, with the West Indies a vastly improved side from four years ago.
If recent form is anything to go by, it will probably be Sri Lanka, led by Shashikala Siriwardena, who are expected to miss the Super Six stage, starting February 8.
Sri Lanka won the right to compete in the tournament after it finished in the top four of the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifiers held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in November 2011.
The England squad features familiar faces, including captain Edwards, while there are eight players from the original winning squad of 2009 including the in-form ICC Women's Twenty20 Player of the Year 2012, Sarah Taylor, who will once again lead the side's batting line-up.
England captain Edwards requires a mere 61 more ODI runs to usurp Belinda Clark of Australia to become the most successful run-scorer in women's cricket.
Clark's record of 4,844 ODI runs has stood since 2005.
England's bowling attack features the number one ODI bowler in the Reliance ICC Women's ODI Player Rankings, Katherine Brunt, who currently has 76 ODI scalps to her name, along with the talented slow left-armer Holly Colvin, who happened to also hit the winning runs in 2009 when the team defeated Australia in the final of the event.
The West Indies features a mixture of youth and experience, including the only twins in the event, Kycia and Kyshona Knight of Barbados. The side is led by Trinidadian Merissa Aguilleira while ICC Women's ODI Player of the Year 2012 Stafanie Taylor is her deputy.
In-form spinner Anisa Mohammed is the one to watch after the 24-year-old claimed 7-14 in the final of the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier in 2011 against Pakistan. She will be hoping the sub-continent conditions will suit her style of play.
Group A: England (A1), India (A2), West Indies (A3), Sri Lanka (A4).
Group B: Australia (B1), New Zealand (B2), Pakistan (B3), South Africa (B4).
Jan 31: India v West Indies (D/N), Wankhede stadium; Australia v Pakistan, BKC.
Feb 1: New Zealand v South Africa (D/N), Wankhede stadium
Feb 2: England v Sri Lanka, Wankhede stadium
Feb 3: New Zealand v Pakistan, BKC; Australia v South Africa, CCI
Feb 4: India v England, Wankhede stadium; Sri Lanka v West Indies, MIG
Feb 5: Pakistan v South Africa, BKC; Australia v New Zealand (D/N), DY Patil
Feb 6: India v Sri Lanka, Wankhede stadium; England v West Indies (D/N), CCI
Super Six Stage
Feb 9: A2 v B2 (D/N), Wankhede Stadium; A3 v B3, BKC; A1 v B1 (D/N), CCI; A4 v B4 (7th v 8th Play Off), MIG
Feb 10: Reserve Day
Feb 11: A3 v B2, BKC; A2 v B1 (D/N), CCI; A1 v B3, DY Patil
Feb 12: Reserve Day
Feb 13: A3 v B1, Wankhede Stadium; A1 v B2, BKC; A2 v B3, CCI
Feb 14: Reserve Day
Feb 15: 5th v 6th Play Off, BKC; 3rd v 4th Play Off, CCI
Feb 16: Reserve Day
Feb 17: Final (D/N), CCI.
Image: Poonam Raut plays a shot during the warm-up game against New Zealand.
Photograph: ICC/Solaris Images