A robot has gone out on a limb to predict that 1000-1 outsiders Afghanistan will win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

University of Canterbury's Nao robot Ikram made the bold prediction after viewing the 14 competing countries' flags.

After narrowing the field down to India, West Indies, Scotland, New Zealand and Afghanistan, the robot decided that cricketing minnows Afghanistan would be champions.

"Of course this is very unlikely, but with cricket the outcome can always be unexpected," said University of Canterbury HITLab PhD student, Eduardo Sandoval, who developed the robot's prediction software.

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Inspired by Paul the Octopus who made predictions for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Mr Sandoval decided to put Ikram - named after the Mexican-Syrian philosopher, Ikram Antaki - to the test.

The University of Canterbury has six Nao robots and in the past they have performed rugby haka and Gangnam style dances.

Some New Zealand companies are developing industrial robots, but the university says research in social robotics is a great chance for them and New Zealand to develop an export industry.

New Zealand is co-hosting the four-yearly tournament with Australia.

The world cup opens with the first match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Christchurch's redeveloped Hagley Oval on Saturday.