Tempers flared in the quarterfinal between New Zealand and South Africa last week and it may be a sign that this will be the World Cup where the Kiwis mean business. The match was notable, not just for the remarkable result when the Kiwis bumped the 3/1 favorites out of the tournament, but because Daniel Vettori and several other New Zealand players became involved in a heated exchange which led to the match referee fining three players.
This is New Zealand's sixth World Cup semifinal in 10 tournaments and they have yet to win one.
New Zealand have only won one piece of silverware in a World tournament and that was in October 2000 when they beat India in the ICC Champions Trophy final in Nairobi.
As England discovered in their quarterfinal Sri Lanka is tough to beat at home. In 180 ODIs played in Sri Lanka, the home side have won 113, lost 51 with 16 no results, which equates to winning 68.9 percent of completed matches.
Previous World Cups:
New Zealand have played in five semifinals in nine previous World Cups and lost every time:
In 1975 West Indies won by five wickets.
In 1979 England won by nine runs.
In 1992 Pakistan won by four wickets.
In 1999 Pakistan won by nine wickets.
In 2007 Sri Lanka won by 81 runs.
Sri Lanka have reached semifinals on three occasions:
In 1996 they won by default against India following a crowd riot. Match referee Clive Lloyd took the teams off for 15 minutes with India needing a near-impossible 132 from 15.5 overs with two wickets remaining and then abandoned the game when a restart led to more bottle throwing.
In 2003 Australia won by 48 runs (D/L).
In 2007 Sri Lanka won by 81 runs. Sri Lanka batted first at Kingston scoring 289-5, with Mahela Jayawardene making an unbeaten 115 and helping to add 102 off the last ten overs. New Zealand were bowled out for 208, with Muralitharan taking 4-31.
Head to head
ODIs: Played 73; NZ 35, Sri Lanka 33, Tied 1 NR 4
In Sri Lanka: Played 19; NZ 5, Sri Lanka 12, NR 2
In World Cup matches: Played 8; NZ 3, Sri Lanka 5.
New Zealand have not beaten Sri Lanka in a World Cup match since 1992 in Hamilton.
In Colombo: Played 7; NZ 1, Sri Lanka 5, NR 1.
Sri Lanka have won the last five encounters since 1992-93. New Zealand's only victory was in April 1986.
New Zealand last played Sri Lanka in an ODI at Premadasa Stadium in a triangular tournament in September 2009. Sri Lanka made 216-7 with Thilan Samaraweera scoring 104. Lasith Malinga took 4-28 as New Zealand were bowled out under lights for 119 in 36.1 overs.
The last time these two sides met in an ODI was earlier in this tournament at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on March 18. Sri Lanka made 265-9 and Kumar Sangakkara top-scored with 111. New Zealand were 153 all out. Muralitharan took 4-25.
Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Sri Lanka has won 50 of its 82 ODIs on this ground, winning 60.98 percent of matches, losing 26 games, with six no results.
New Zealand has won three of its 11 games there, two against Sri Lanka and one against India. The Black Caps have lost five games to Sri Lanka and one to India and there have been two no results.
The average first innings score in floodlit games is 234.
In floodlit games 46 out of 71 completed games have been won by the side batting first.
Jesse Ryder has scored two second ball ducks there.
Star player - New Zealand
Tim Southee is the leading wicket-taker for New Zealand in this World Cup with 15 wickets at 17. He has taken some big-name wickets in the tournament: Tillakaratne Dilshan for three, Mohammad Hafeez for five, Kamran Akmal for eight, Ricky Ponting for 12 and Jayawardene for 66.
In last week's quarterfinal, with South Africa needing 222 and cruising to victory at 108/2 in the 24th over, he dismissed Jacques Kallis for 47, who fell to a stunning catch by Jacob Oram in the deep, which started a procession of the remaining batsmen for 64 runs.
Star player - Sri Lanka
Muttiah Muralitharan limped from the ground during Sri Lanka's quarterfinal against England, but with a maximum of two matches before he retires he will be desperate to play for the last time in front of an adoring home crowd. His international tally stands at 1345 wickets at 22.84 from 493 matches. He has bowled 63,024 balls at an economy rate of 2.92 and strike rate of 46.8. He has taken more wickets at Premadasa than at any other ground in Sri Lanka with 73 wickets at 26.47 from 56 games.
Together Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga are Sri Lanka's third most prolific opening partnership. They have added an aggregate of 2,023 runs at an average of 65.26 for the first wicket.
In their seven matches together in this tournament they have added a World Cup record 743 runs at 123.83, with 2 x 100 and 3 x 50 opening stands.
By comparison Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum have added 353 in seven matches at 70.60, with 1 x 100 and 2 x 50 opening partnerships.
The New Zealand vs South Africa quarterfinal was the first and only match of the tournament when neither side asked for a review. The umpires were Aleem Dar and Rod Tucker. In the quarterfinals no decisions were overturned on review.
For this match Steve Davis and Aleem Dar will be the on-field umpires. In the group stages Davis had one of his six reviewed decisions overturned and Dar none of his eight.
So far in the tournament New Zealand have had one out of 11 decisions altered on review and Sri Lanka one out of eight.
Kumar Sangakkara needs 111 for 1,000 and Jayawardene needs 129 for 1,000 runs in the World Cup. Whoever gets there first will be the third Sri Lankan and 14th batsman in world cricket. Sanath Jayasuriya and Aravinda de Silva are the other two Sri Lankans.
Muralitharan needs six wickets to overtake Glenn McGrath's record 71 wickets in World Cups from 39 games. Murali currently has 66 wickets at 19 from 38 matches.