THE top eight teams in the world are battling it out to call themselves champions of the world over the next month - here are the contenders...

To win the tournament: 7/5
Previous wins: 1978, 1982, 1988, 1997, 2005, 2013
2013 performance: Winners
Matches in Taunton: Aus v WI (June 26), Aus v SA (July 15)

THE reigning champions are favourites to defend their crown, and with good reason – they have three of the top 10 ranked ODI batters in their ranks, including the number one, Meg Lanning.

All-rounder Ellyse Perry, meanwhile, averaged 81 in this format last year and was understandably named Wisden’s Leading Female Cricketer in the World as a result.

To win the tournament: 5/2
Previous wins: 1973, 1993, 2009
2013 performance: Third
Matches in Taunton: England v Sri Lanka (July 2)

The hosts have won the previous two World Cups held in this country and in Somerset’s Anya Shrubsole they have a bowler capable of mixing it with the world’s best.

Captain Heather Knight is a skilled all-rounder, and talented wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor has made a welcome return after a year out due to mental health issues.

New Zealand
To win the tournament: 6/1
Previous wins: 2000
2013 performance: Fourth
Matches in Taunton: NZ v West Indies (July 6), NZ v Pakistan (July 8)

MANY people’s favourites, New Zealand boast arguably the best batting line-up in the tournament.

Captain Suzie Bates is second in the ICC rankings and, in all-rounder Amy Satterthwaite, they have a cricketer who already this year has scored four successive ODI hundreds this year and taken the first Women’s Big Bash hat-trick.

To win the tournament: 6/1
Previous wins: N/A (best performance - runners-up in 2005)
2013 performance: Group stage
Matches in Taunton: West Indies v India (June 29)

FOR such a cricket mad nation, India have been slow to fully get on board with the women’s game and their team have suffered as a result.

However, they cannot be ruled out in this tournament and spinner Ekta Bisht is one to keep an eye on.

West Indies
To win the tournament: 10/1
Previous wins: N/A (best performance - runners-up in 2013)
2013 performance: Runners-up
Matches in Taunton: Aus v WI (June 26), WI v India (2June 29), WI v NZ (July 6)

LAST time’s finalists, who also won the T20 World Cup last year, should be there or thereabouts

Stefanie Taylor is a world-class all-rounder, while 19-year-old Hayley Matthews and Deandra Dottin are more than capable of clearing the ropes.

South Africa
To win the tournament: 20/1
Previous wins: N/A (best performance - semi-finals in 2000)
2013 performance: Sixth
Matches in Taunton: SL V SA (July 12), SA v Aus (July 15)

THE potential dark horses have never made it past the last four in this tournament but do boast the world’s number one ranked bowler, Marizanne Kapp.

Sri Lanka
To win the tournament: 50/1
Previous wins: N/A (best performance - fifth in 2013)
2013 performance: Fifth
Matches in Taunton: Eng v SL (July 2), SL v SA (July 12)

THE Lankans are unfancied but all-rounder Sripali Weerakkody, who used to work for the Sri Lankan Air Force, will hope her side can start to spread their wings.

To win the tournament: 66/1
Previous wins: N/A (best performance - sixth in 2009)
2013 performance: Group stage
Matches in Taunton: NZ v Pakistan (July 8)

RANK outsiders they may be, but Pakistan are improving and, as their men have shown in the Champions Trophy, they are not a nation to be written off – look out for batter Sana Mir.