Martin Guptill celebrates with teammates including captain Kane Williamson (centre) after taking a slip catch. AFP
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to bowl first against Sri Lanka in their opening World Cup match in Cardiff on Saturday.
Paceman Tim Southee missed out due to a calf injury as the Kiwis -- runners-up in the 2015 edition -- went in with two all-rounders in their starting line-up.
Batsman Henry Nicholls was also injured, with Mitchell Santner the only spinner in the side.
"Just a one spinner and two all-rounders. That helps with the balance," Williamson said at the toss.
Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne admitted he would also have bowled first to take advantage of the green tinge on the pitch.
"I would have bowled as well. We wanted to take advantage," said Karunaratne, who has returned to the side after missing out on four years of one-day Cricket.
"We don't have much pressure. We want to do well. We want to show what we can do."
Sri Lanka, World Cup winners in 1996, are ninth in the one-day rankings and have been given little chance in the 10-team tournament.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Tom Latham (wkt), Ross Taylor, James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Trent Boult
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera (wkt), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga
Umpires: Ian Gould (ENG) and Rod Tucker (AUS)
TV umpire: Nigel Llong (ENG)
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)
It was a superb display by the underdog Black Caps, who came into the match on the back of three straight defeats by Pakistan, Australia and England and only qualified for the semi-finals on net run-rate, while India topped the 10-team group stage.
Left-arm seamer Shaheen Afridi (3-28) had helped reduce the Black Caps to 46-4 and 83-5, when Kane Williamson was out for 41.
It is the first time England have reached this stage since 1992, when they made the last of their three losing appearances in the final.
Galle: A fighting half-century by wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling helped New Zealand to take a highly competitive lead of 177 at stumps on day three in the first Test match against Sri Lanka in Galle on Friday. New Zealand, who trailed Sri Lanka by 18 runs in the first innings, finished on 195 for seven and a target around 200 could prove tricky
Vinicius Junior, Neymar, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta all scored before the interval for the five-time champions, while Paik Seung-ho netted a late consolation for South Korea.
During the first two days of racing, reduced winds forced participants to navigate difficult weather conditions and fierce competition to finish the racecourse.
Top seed Diana Shnaider eased her way into the next round even as defending champion Daria Snigur was sent packing off by Slovakia’s Rebecca Sramkova on the opening day of the 25th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge, on Monday.