STEPHEN FLEMING v CHAMINDA VAAS
Fleming is the man the Kiwis look to for leadership and a positive start when batting, and after a sticky spell earlier this year he has found some form at this tournament.
An unbeaten 102 against Bangladesh and three half centuries have helped him amass 352 runs in nine games. However, he is vulnerable against top-class bowlers who can move the ball through the air or off the seam early on.
Vaas may have lost a bit of pace but he is one of the canniest operators around and causes the very best batsmen problems, particularly by swinging the ball in. He has been miserly in the Caribbean and taken 14 wickets in eight games.
Fleming has had no end of problems against him recently, dismissed for a duck on the last four occasions their paths have crossed. In fact, Vaas has dismissed him more often (11 times) than any other bowler in one-day internationals.
SCOTT STYRIS v MUTTIAH MURALITHARAN
New Zealanders claim they play Muralitharan as well as anyone but, statistically, at least, they have come unstuck on many an occasion against him.
The master off-spinner is the joint-second leading wicket-taker in the World Cup with 19 victims and tied the Kiwis in knots again last week.
But one man stood tall against him, the doggedly defiant Styris, who has proved tough to shift for opponents.
Solid rather than spectacular, he is arguably in the form of his life in terms of one-day cricket and, apart from Fleming, represents New Zealand's best hopes of posting a competitive total.
SANATH JAYASURIYA v SHANE BOND
Jayasuriya, the most capped ODI player of all time (388 games) might be in the autumn of his career but he has lost none of his ability to take on bowlers early on and get his side off to a flyer.
The 37-year-old thrashed a magnificent 115 against West Indies, one of two centuries in this tournament, during which he has scored 403 runs at just over a run a ball.
He thrives on width and is ruthless with anything short but Bond, with his 12 wickets at a remarkable average of 12.83 and a fantastic economy rate of 2.58 runs per over, has been giving virtually nothing away in this competition.
The injury-prone Kiwi has dropped a bit of pace but has compensated for that with nagging accuracy and even Jayasuriya treated him circumspectly last week in Grenada.
MAHELA JAYAWARDENE v DANIEL VETTORI
Jayawardene has shown his attacking attitude in his captaincy and batting, providing along with Jayasuriya a big proportion of his team's runs.
One of the most technically correct batsmen around, he has barely looked troubled at the crease and is an expert at nudging spinners around.
But Vettori, who won their personal duel in Grenada by inducing a false stroke, is one of the most intelligent cricketers in the world and just the sort of opponent who can keep Jayawardene in check.
His clever variations on slower wickets have made him very difficult to get away but he has taken some hammer in the last two games against South Africa and Australia.
Along with Shane Bond, he is critical to New Zealand's chances of restricting the aggressive Sri Lankans and will need to recover his poise by Tuesday.
On a lively Sabina Park pitch, this clash could set the tone for the rest of the game.