Afghanistan are the highest ranked of the four association nations which qualified for the World Cup.
The national team was formed after the end of Taliban rule in 2001, with many of the players introduced to cricket while in refugee camps in Pakistan.
Coached by the former Black Caps coach Andy Moles, the goal is a quarterfinals berth.
To do that, they will need to beat Bangladesh and Scotland in their pool match and snatch a win over a major nation.
Not an implausible scenario, given that they recently drew a one-day series against Zimbabwe and, since joining the international cricket community in 2009, have also had wins over Bangladesh, Scotland and Ireland.
The team contains quick bowlers with genuine pace who have the ability to swing the ball and some useful spinners led by Samiullah Shenwari.
Their undoubted weakness however is their fielding which can wilt under pressure.
In a bid to cope with the steepling bounce they will have to contend with in some games in Australia, the Afghan batsmen have been facing golf balls in the nets to simulate what it will be like.
Key players: Captain and all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, spinner Samiullah Shenwari, fast bowler Dawlat Zadran.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi (captain), Nawroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Samiullah Shenwari, Afsar Zazai (wicket-keeper), Najibullah Zadran, Nasir Jamal, Mirwais Ashraf, Gulbadin Naib, Hamid Hassan, Shapoor Zadran, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Javed Ahmadi, Usman Ghani.
February 18th: Afghanistan vs Bangladesh, Saxton Oval, Nelson.
February 22nd: Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka, University Oval, Dunedin.
February 26th: Afghanistan vs Scotland, University Oval, Dunedin.
March 4th: Afghanistan vs Australia, WACA, Perth.
March 8th: Afghanistan vs New Zealand, McLean Park, Napier.
March 13th: Afghanistan vs England, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney.