With a steady partnership, Ross Taylor and Scott Styris took New Zealand to 150/3 in 36.1 overs in their World Cup semifinal clash against Sri Lanka at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
The stand came after Muttiah Muralitharan and Lasith Malinga dismissed Jesse Ryder and Martin Guptill respectively to reduce New Zealand to 84/3 in 21.3 overs.
Playing his last match on Sri Lankan soil, Murali struck in his third over when he had Ryder caught behind by Kumar Sangakkara.
In the 22nd over, Malinga clean bowled Guptill with a scorching yorker.
Rangana Herath clean bowled Brendon McCullum to give Sri Lanka the first breakthrough after New Zealand got off to a good start.
Earlier, New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori won the toss and elected to bat against Sri Lanka.
Co-hosts Sri Lanka named an unchanged team from the line-up who beat England in the quarterfinals. Off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was declared fit to play despite suffering from a bruised knee and a hamstring injury in the lead-up to the match.
New Zealand, playing their sixth World Cup semifinal, made one change, bringing in left-arm paceman Andy McKay for left-arm spinner Luke Woodcock.
The winner of the match will play India or Pakistan in the final in Mumbai on Saturday.
Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara (captain), Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Silva, Angelo Mathews, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Muttiah Muralitharan.
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris, Kane Williamson,, Nathan McCullum, Daniel Vettori (captain), Jacob Oram, Tim Southee, Andy McKay.