[Note -- I didn't actually manage to make live notes during either of the Semifinals. I did not have my notebook with me in the stadium for the NZ v Sri Lanka match, and then we overslept by half an hour and missed most of South Africa's collapse the next morning. These are all notes jotted down from memory that second night.]
NEW ZEALAND v. SRI LANKA
-- Best live moment of the day: The Over of Plays and Misses by Ross Taylor, against Malinga. After having the ball beat the bat for the first five deliveries of the 8th over, the entire crowd erupted in cheers when Taylor finally managed to block the ball on the sixth. He even raised his bat to the crowd in acknowledgment, with a look on his face (showing on the big screen) that could do nothing but say, "Yeah... I know. Completely out of my depth. No need to mention it."
-- After having eaten countless overpriced, tasteless meals on various grounds around the world, I can now officially give out the award for the Worst Food To Buy At A Stadium, Ever: spicy peppered prawns. I don't know what motivated me to buy that concoction; maybe the fact that they were a little cheaper than the Escoveitch fish and a little more exotic than the bucket of KFC.
They come in a little plastic bag, which is itself inside a bigger paper bag with a napkin in it; a dozen or so full prawns, smeared in garlic and spicy seasoning. First you have to stick your fingers inside the greasy bag and pull out a prawn by either the head or the antennae. You then take off the head and peel the body, above the plastic bag, and throw the discards into the gap between the plastic and the paper; except sometimes they fall inside the original bag by accident and you have to fish them back out, or sometimes you miss both bags altogether and they land right on your shoe.
But that's if you manage to peel the damn things in the first place. Since the prawns are so old and stale, the shells were soft, sticky, and impossible to remove. The meat was flaky and yellow, the taste was gummy, and the thick black intestinal vein running down the back of the prawn could only give you the creeps if you stared at it for too long.
-- Sabina Park, although full enough to provide a lively atmosphere, was still not packed to capacity. For a World Cup semi-final. That is criminal. Everyone you ask about it will tell you it's all to the Indians ("the Indians" becoming a big catch-all clause for every source of negative spectator behaviour in this World Cup). The taxi driver from the airport in Kingston offered me tickets to the finals, which his cousin purportedly obtained in batches after the first round from a group of bitter Indian supporters.
Is it all the Indians’ fault? If India had gone through to the Super 8s and to the semis, would we have had some full stadiums? I doubt it. It seems like interest for the event was low across the board, and India's (and Pakistan's) early departure only exacerbated the problem. For the lack of original interest, you can blame the ICC and the organising committee. Because I can't think of any other reason why people would have no interest in attending an important international tournament in a place of such beauty and tranquility as the Caribbean.