Stokes ‘devastated’ by death over disaster

Ben Stokes’ death-over heroics had been crucial to England’s successful World Twenty20 campaign but it took just four deliveries against Carlos Brathwaite in the final on Sunday to shatter the paceman’s hard-earned reputation.

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With West Indies needing 27 off the final 12 deliveries in their chase of 156, Chris Jordan gave away just nine runs in the penultimate over to set it up for Stokes to defend 19 runs and give England a second World Twenty20 title.

Stokes had been at his miserly best when, along with Jordan, he defended 22 runs in the final two overs against Sri Lanka and the duo conceded just 20 in the last four in the semi-final win against New Zealand.

Yet Stokes was left squatting on the ground and needed help from his teammates to pick himself up after he missed his length and Brathwaite smashed him for four consecutive sixes to power West Indies to an improbable win with two balls to spare.

“It is cruel,” England captain Eoin Morgan told reporters after the match.

“He’s going to be devastated.

“It will take ourselves the next couple of days to recover.”

Before Sunday’s final, Morgan had lauded Stokes and Jordan as the best bowlers in death-overs in this sixth edition of the tournament because of their skill at dishing out yorkers seemingly at will.

While Stokes’ first delivery of the final over ended as a half volley on the leg stump which Brathwaite duly hit over deep square-leg, his next three missed the yorker length, allowing the batsman to hit him over the straight boundaries.

Yet Morgan refused to blame the 24-year-old allrounder.

“We share everything we do. We stick together as a side. We share our pain, we share our success,” a sombre-looking Morgan said.

“He’s probably not hearing a lot right now. But I will tell him the exact same things.

“Hopefully in the future we will have a lot of success, I personally think we will. This side is at the very beginning of its progression.”

Stokes thanked his teammates for their support.

“Overwhelmed by all the support of everyone after a disappointing last over,” he said on Twitter.

Japan-bound Smith stars for Wasps

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young lamented George Smith’s inevitable departure from the English premiership side after watching Northampton unravel at the hands of the Australian legend.

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Wallabies great Smith displayed his playmaking prowess by using footwork and guile to create two tries for Rob Miller in Sunday’s 28-6 victory over playoff rivals Northampton.

The 35-year-old openside flanker Smith, who gave England breakdown coaching during the Six Nations, is nearing the end of his one-year contract at Wasps and has resolved to complete the final instalment of his celebrated career in Japanese club rugby.

His stellar performances have marked him out as a leading contender for Premiership player of the season and Young views him as one of the league’s finest imports.

“There’s not really any way we could stop George leaving. We’d love to keep him,” Young said.

“When he came we knew it would only be for one year. He’s been excellent for us and for the Premiership as well.

“Everybody is enjoying watching a player of his quality. He’s got to be up there for Premiership player of the season.

“It’s the unseen stuff that he’s given us around the club, not just what you see on the pitch.

“He’s so professional in the way he prepares. He’s approachable and tries to help everybody. He’s a role model for any player.”

Smith and Miller combined to provide a low-quality showdown at the Ricoh Arena with two moments to savour as Wasps continued their pursuit of securing home advantage in the playoffs.

The Coventry-based club, who added a third try through Jamie Stevenson in the closing seconds, face Exeter in the Champions Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

Johnson has no trouble singing GWS song

Steve Johnson’s young teammates made sure he had no trouble with the words to Greater Western Sydney’s team song after their upset AFL win over his former club Geelong.

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The veteran had his first chance to belt it out in the Manuka Oval dressing rooms on Sunday following the 13-point win.

He said it came out naturally, having been forced by teammates to recite it repeatedly as punishment at a pre-season camp.

“Now my four-year-old boy sings it around the house all the time,” Jonhson said.

Johnson tried to keep the build-up to Sunday’s game, his second in GWS colours after being let go by the Cats at the end of last season, as normal as possible but admitted he felt strange.

“I’m really comfortable that I’m a GWS Giants player now, but then the Geelong team song comes on and you get some mixed feelings,” he said.

“It probably took me a quarter to work into the match. But once you get out on the field, you cop a couple of hits, you get a couple of kicks and it was just another game of footy.”

He said there were a few barbs thrown around but nothing sinister.

“I guess when you’re winning they don’t have much to say…but most of the sledging’s about just having a laugh.”

Johnson booted two goals and had 23 disposals in Sunday’s big win.

It was an improvement on his first outing against Melbourne, which drew plenty of criticism.

He revealed post-match he had been suffering from tonsilitis ahead of the round-one clash but is on the mend.

“Fitness-wise I’m going really well,” he said.

“Obviously last week I was pretty crook leading into the Melbourne loss and I battled through that game. But I think I’m going to get better and better as the games go on.”

Climate change a danger to public health: US report

Man-made global warming is making America sicker and it’s only going to get worse, according to a new US government report.

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The 332-page report issued on Monday by the Obama administration says global warming will make the air dirtier, water more contaminated and food more tainted.

It warned of diseases, such as those spread by ticks and mosquitoes, longer allergy seasons, and thousands of heat wave deaths.

Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy says if that’s not enough, climate change affects people’s mental health, too.

“It’s not just about polar bears and melting ice caps. It’s about our families. It’s about our future,” McCarthy said at a White House event unveiling the report.

Climate change affects more people in more ways than anything doctors have seen in the past, said Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

He says the report allows doctors to better quantify “the sheer number of pathways through which climate affects health”.

That includes air pollution worsened from power plants, pollen and even wildfires, he said.

“Not being able to breathe is one of the most frightening experience” for people, Murthy said.

Lynn Goldman, dean of the George Washington University’s public health school said asthma is already the No.1 cause of children going to the hospital and “now we’re seeing it worsening because of the heat, the allergens,” and air pollution.

White House science adviser John Holdren highlighted heat waves, saying that even with some reduction in emissions of heat-trapping gases globally, “we can see thousands to tens of thousands of heat-related deaths in the United States each summer”.

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention computer simulations of 209 cities show that extra summer heat deaths will outweigh fewer winter cold deaths from climate change, said CDC’s Shubhayu Saha, a study lead author.

Holdren said the report is based on more than 1,800 published scientific studies and new federal research, and was reviewed by the National Academies of Sciences.

“The report clearly establishes that climate change is a major threat to public health in the United States,” said Howard Frumkin, dean of the University of Washington’s public health school.

Frumkin, who wasn’t part of the report, said the government isn’t doing enough.

“There is a vast disconnect between the magnitude of the problem, as outlined by this report, and the response of government health agencies.”