Glenn Maxwell said he had "freedom" to attack after delivering a stunning century to guide Australia past England in the third ODI.

With Australia chasing 303 for victory in Manchester on Wednesday, Maxwell arrived at the crease with the tourists reeling at 73-5 in the series decider.

But Maxwell (108 off 90 balls) and Alex Carey (106 off 114) combined for a 212-run partnership as Australia reached the target with two balls to spare.

Maxwell, who scored his second ODI century and first since 2015, said he felt free to play his aggressive game with Australia in such a poor position.

"I was probably thinking that we haven't got much to lose so I had a bit of freedom I suppose to try and take the bowling on and put a bit more pressure on them," he told reporters.

"I thought if I could make the most of that short boundary as much as I could early on and just back my bat swing. There was a fair bit of a breeze heading that way as well so I just tried to get it up in the air and I was able to get a couple pretty clean early on in the innings and then hopefully start to build a partnership with Alex.

"I knew once I started to get into the innings they would start to bowl a bit differently to me and I might be able to cash in on some loose balls, but everything pretty much went to plan.

"The way our partnership built was outstanding so it was good fun out there and I'm really happy to get that result."

Jonny Bairstow's 112 had earlier helped England to 302-7 after they elected to bat first at Old Trafford.

England captain Eoin Morgan accepted Australia were simply too good for his side.

"We were still in the game. When you break big partnerships and the ball is offering a bit, you're never out of the game," he said.

"But Australia were too good for us … we were right in the game but Carey and Maxwell played outstandingly well."

Jofra Archer insisted England have not forgotten about the Black Lives Matter movement amid criticism from Michael Holding for not kneeling before games.

England joined the West Indies in kneeling prior to matches during their Test series in July but have not done so since across matches with Ireland, Pakistan and Australia.

Windies legend Holding hit out at England for stopping with the gesture "as soon as West Indies went home" and raised the question of whether they had "jumped on the bandwagon" by kneeling during that series.

However, speaking in a media conference, fast bowler Archer criticised Holding's comments, claiming the Black Lives Matter cause is still very much in the mind of those in the England set-up.

"I'm pretty sure Michael Holding doesn't know anything that is going on behind the scenes," said the Barbados-born paceman.

"I don't think he has spoken to [ECB chief executive] Tom Harrison. I think that would be a bit harsh for him to say that.

"I've spoken to Tom and we've got stuff running in the background, we've not forgotten, no one here has forgotten so I think it's a bit harsh for Mikey to not do some research."

Archer was racially abused during England's tour of New Zealand last year and has also had to deal with similar incidents on social media.

Asked if enough is being done by social media platforms to put a stop to such conduct, Archer replied: "A lot of stuff has been put into place so that people can be prosecuted a bit easier but I think it might have to go a bit further because some people still aren't worried about what can happen to them. I had one the other day and the guy blamed it on being drunk.

"As long as there is social media, as long as the person does not have to confront you, I think it will still go on. All we can do is try to act accordingly, report it and do what's best.

"At the end of the day, I think I'm strong enough to deal with it but what happens when they start targeting somebody who isn't mentally as strong and it starts affecting them? We've got to try to stamp it out as much as possible."

England face Australia in the third and final ODI on Wednesday, with the series tied at 1-1 after Archer's man-of-the-match exploits inspired a stunning 24-run win at Old Trafford on Sunday.

 

New Zealand head coach Gary Stead has been reappointed until the end of the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

Stead replaced Mike Hesson at the helm in 2018 and led the Black Caps to the Cricket World Cup final last year, when they fell to England in a thriller.

The 48-year-old has extended his contract to remain in charge in all three formats through until the end of the 2023 tournament, which is scheduled to be played in India.

"It's an honour and a privilege to be reappointed," he said.

"I think this group of players is growing as a team. There's an exciting schedule ahead of us and I know everyone is feeling very optimistic about our chances in all three formats.

"I'm very appreciative of the backing I've enjoyed from the players, the support staff and NZC [New Zealand Cricket] and hope I can repay that confidence by helping the Black Caps achieve their goals and objectives over the next three years."

NZC chief David White praised Stead, who was given a contract extension after a process that included an interview with an appointments panel.

"What was immediately clear was that Gary had overseen a particularly successful chapter in New Zealand cricket history, during which time his team had been very strong in the Test and ODI formats," he said.

"Winning an away Test series against Pakistan and a Test in Sri Lanka was a tremendous effort, as were the home Test series wins against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, England and India.

"To tie the World Cup final and miss out on winning the trophy through a countback was a gut-wrenching experience, but I think we can all agree on how well the team played during that campaign and, equally, how well they conducted themselves afterwards."

New Zealand are due to host Bangladesh, West Indies and Pakistan later this year.

Australia paceman Mitchell Starc backed "huge talent" Riley Meredith to take his chance in England.

Meredith is one of three uncapped players in Australia's squad for three Twenty20s and three ODIs beginning next month.

The 24-year-old has taken 27 wickets at 23.03 in T20s, while his average in List A cricket is 36.80.

Starc praised Meredith and hopes the paceman can step up in four practice matches before the T20 opener against England on September 4.

"I've obviously seen him play some cricket and played the [Sheffield] Shield game against Tassie that he played in last year and he bowled really well, I think he got 'Smithy' [Steve Smith] out twice in that game so he's a huge talent," he said.

"There's been a bit of chat around him for a couple of domestic seasons now and I'm sure he's really excited, along with the other two newcomers to Australian cricket to get underway.

"He bowls fast. I think that's a great thing about him, he can just run in and express himself with the ball now and hopefully he can do so in these practice games and if he gets his chance in Australian colours I think he'll take it with both hands. So, a good chance for another one of the fast-bowling group to come and learn and express his skills on the world stage."

England are the top-ranked ODI team and won the Cricket World Cup on home soil last year.

Starc hopes Australia can deliver against England, who beat them in the semi-finals of the tournament.

"They're still the world champions so, look, they obviously had a game plan in place in the lead-up to the World Cup and they've carried on the way they play their cricket," he said.

"We played them three times during that period and we happened to beat them two out of three but we obviously saved our worst for last.

"It's now a chance for us to talk about the way we want to approach our cricket heading into the 2023 World Cup. We've got a squad of 21 and now we've got a chance to showcase that against the current world champions so hopefully we're in for an exciting series and hopefully one that we can come out on top of."

Josh Philippe is one of three uncapped players included in Australia's squad after their ODI and Twenty20 tour of England was confirmed to go ahead.

Philippe, Daniel Sams and Riley Meredith were included in a 21-man touring party.

Australia named a preliminary squad last month amid uncertainty over the tour due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it was confirmed on Friday the matches would go ahead in September.

Philippe scored 487 runs at an average of 37.46 for the Sydney Sixers during the 2019-20 Big Bash League, while the Sydney Thunder's Sams (30) was the leading wicket-taker.

Meredith, meanwhile, took 10 wickets at 13.70 in six games for the Hobart Hurricanes.

Australia will fly to the United Kingdom later this month before a three-game T20 series starts on September 4, while the ODIs are scheduled to begin a week later.

Glenn Maxwell returns to the squad, replacing D'Arcy Short, while Marcus Stoinis was also recalled.

"It's a squad with great depth and a sprinkle of some exceptional young players," Australia national selector Trevor Hohns said. 

"We are very pleased with the final group which was chosen with a view to continuing our recent form in T20 cricket and the longer term goal of returning to the top in the 50-over game.

"The top and middle order is extremely strong, there's plenty of accomplished all-rounders, fantastic fast bowling depth and spin options. The squad also has the cover required to meet all contingencies given replacements are not available for this tour if injury or illness were to occur.

"The NSP [National Selection Panel] believes this squad, along with those who missed out and others who perform well in domestic cricket, offers a solid platform for success in the white-ball game going forward."

Australia senior assistant coach Andrew McDonald will not travel with the squad due to a commitment to coach the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.

Australia: Aaron Finch, Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

Ireland matched their famous 2011 Cricket World Cup victory over England as they scored 329 again to take the final match of the one-day series in Southampton. 

Kevin O'Brien - the hero of the historic three-wicket triumph in Bangalore nine years ago - hit the winning run, seeing Ireland home in the final over to end the long wait for a second win over their neighbours.

However, it was opener Paul Stirling and captain Andy Balbirnie who were the architects of this outstanding result, both right-handers making centuries to set up the innings.

England captain Eoin Morgan had earlier hit 106 but suffered a groin injury while batting, forcing him to watch on from a seat inside the empty Ageas Bowl as his side's score of 328 all out was overhauled with seven wickets in hand.

Stirling smashed 142 from 128 deliveries while Balbirnie hit 113, the pair adding 214 runs for the second wicket before a mix-up saw the former, previously dropped twice by James Vince, run out.

The skipper also perished as the finishing line drew closer, lofting Adil Rashid to Sam Billings in the deep, but Harry Tector and O'Brien saw the job through, finishing unbeaten on 29 and 21 respectively.

As well as avoiding being swept in the three-match series, Ireland also claim their first points in the new ICC Cricket World Cup Super League by beating the reigning champions in the format.

England looked set to post an even more challenging target having been put into bat, yet twice undermined their progress by losing wickets in clusters during a sloppy performance.

Jason Roy fell in the first over of the contest, steering Craig Young to second slip, while opening partner Jonny Bairstow departed for four soon after, bowled by Mark Adair. 

Vince (16) also departed inside the opening powerplay to leave the score at 44-3, yet Morgan still opted to go on the attack against the team he used to play for. 

Tom Banton (58) recorded his maiden ODI half-century but played second fiddle to his skipper in a fourth-wicket alliance worth 146, though Morgan's departure led to another mini-collapse. 

From 190-4, England slipped to 216-7. As well as both well-set batsmen, Moeen Ali (one) and the in-form Sam Billings, who picked out mid-on having eased to 19, were also dismissed during a passage of play that proved crucial in the end.

David Willey followed up his unbeaten 47 on Saturday with a career-best ODI score of 51, while Tom Curran finished up 38 not out, but the hosts offered Ireland an opportunity they gratefully seized.

Jonny Bairstow equalled England's fastest ODI fifty and helped the hosts to a second consecutive ODI victory over Ireland to settle the series.

England followed up their emphatic Rose Bowl victory on Thursday with a less assured four-wicket win at the same venue on Saturday as they chased down 213. 

The third and final match takes place next week with England now 2-0 up.

Curtis Campher (68) impressed again as he anchored Ireland's innings, with Adil Rashid taking 3-34.

In reply, Bairstow reached his half-century off just 21 balls, equalling captain Eoin Morgan's record, before eventually falling for 82 from 41 deliveries in a knock that contained 14 fours and two sixes.

Following his dismissal, England promptly lost Morgan and Moeen Ali for ducks, leaving them suddenly struggling at 137-6.

But the two stars of the first match, Sam Billings (46 not out) and David Willey (47no), again came to the fore and got the world champions over the line with 17.3 overs to spare.

South Africa have postponed indefinitely proposed tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies and are unlikely to play again until November, Graeme Smith has revealed.

The Proteas were due to travel to Sri Lanka in June for three ODIs and a trio of Twenty20 fixtures against their hosts, only to cancel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For the same reason they called off a planned trip to the Caribbean set for July and August, when they were due to play two Tests and five T20 matches.

While there was hope of facing West Indies in September instead, director of cricket Smith admits such a scenario is impossible for Cricket South Africa (CSA) due to the rearranged Indian Premier League season.

Several of the country's leading names are contracted to franchises for the T20 tournament, which seems set to be staged in the United Arab Emirates this year.

"The West Indies tour has been postponed indefinitely," Smith told the media on Saturday.

"We are struggling to find the time with the Indian Premier League, when our players are likely to be needed from the beginning of September. Sri Lanka also [postponed].

"I expect that once things get up and running, our team, on the men's side, I would say from November onwards, if all goes well, it will be a really busy period for South African cricket, probably playing in times that we haven't played before and trying to cram in a lot of the missed tours."

As for his own situation with CSA, Smith reaffirmed his commitment to the role amid recent questions raised over his appointment, as well as the coaching staff he put in place.

Mark Boucher was named as head coach ahead of the home series with England, while fellow former international team-mates Jacques Kallis and Paul Harris were introduced to work as batting and spin-bowling consultants respectively.

"If you look at some of the things which are being said around appointments, my appointment and the appointment of my staff, I think some of those things are extremely unfair," Smith said.

"It was good to see CSA president (Chris Nenzani) put that straight with his most recent comments. But I have to come back to my value system and why I got involved in this job.

"Cricket South Africa courted me for a while, I went through the same interview process as everybody else in getting the job.

"I got involved because I have got cricket at heart and to be part of the solution. I want to help create a strong Cricket South Africa."

David Willey's bowling set the tone for a comprehensive six-wicket England win in Thursday's ODI with Ireland, while Sam Billings impressed at the crease as a 173 target was reached with little fuss in the series opener.

England's Test players were unavailable due to their endeavours against West Indies, meaning an entirely different ODI XI was given the chance to prove their credentials, and Willey certainly rose to the occasion.

The 29-year-old was left out of England's World Cup squad last year, but in Southampton he provided a reminder of his qualities with an exceptional 5-30, his first five-wicket haul in ODI cricket.

It did not take Willey long to find his groove, taking out Paul Stirling (2) and Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie (3) in the first three overs.

Three successive fours – which were soon followed by another pair – from Gareth Delany (22) at least gave Ireland a little momentum, but he too fell victim to Willey having just seen Mahmood (2-36) deal with Harry Tector (0), and Lorcan Tucker (0) followed them just two balls later in the sixth.

Curtis Campher (59 not out) and Kevin O'Brien (22) steadied the ship with some conservative batting, staving off the England attack for 14 full overs, but the latter eventually paid the price for opting to alter their mentality.

Like Tector and Tucker, Simi Singh returned to the pavilion without a run to his name, and although Andy McBrine's solid 40 helped he and Campher put up a decent defence, Ireland were eventually skittled in the 45th over when Jason Roy caught Craig Young to secure Willey's fifth wicket.

England's chase did not begin particularly emphatically, as they found themselves at 36-2 after the sixth over – Roy (24) and Jonny Bairstow (2) the early casualties.

Tucker then caught Vince (25) off Young in the 10th over, but England's wobble effectively ended with his replacement, Billings, who impressed with an unbeaten 67, which included 11 fours.

England lost Tom Banton (11), but captain Eoin Morgan (36 not out) came in and ultimately sealed a comfortable victory as he blasted Singh's delivery for six – the hosts reaching 174 runs in the 28th over with six wickets to spare.

Reece Topley looks set to make his first England appearance for over four years after being named in a 14-man ODI squad for the series with Ireland. 

Topley has not played at international level since the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 tournament in India after being hit hard by injuries, but the left-arm paceman is poised to return at the Rose Bowl. 

No members of the Test side have been selected given the final match against West Indies only finishes on Tuesday, with the first of three one-dayers starting behind closed doors 48 hours later. 

Batsman Phil Salt misses out despite smashing a century off only 58 balls in England Lions' victory over Ireland in Southampton on Sunday. 

Joe Denly is included, however, after being dropped from the Test side. David Willey is also back in the squad, while there is a spot for Tom Banton.

England selector James Taylor said: "We are developing excellent strength in depth in white-ball cricket. Even though a number of Test players are unavailable, there is great competition for places, as we have seen during the intra-squad matches and the England Lions warm-up match.

"There are a number of players who'll feel unlucky not to have made the final squad and that says a lot about how many players we currently have pushing hard for selection at the highest level.

"These ODIs against Ireland are an opportunity to continue the exciting evolution of the ODI side, while also looking towards the T20 World Cup in 2021.

"In this challenging season, everyone at England appreciates the hard work and dedication of the county coaches and support staff who have helped these players to get ready for competitive cricket."

 

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Joe Denly, Saqib Mahmood, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Reece Topley, James Vince, David Willey.

Reserves: Richard Gleeson, Lewis Gregory, Liam Livingstone.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has officially launched the inaugural ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League, starting with England's one-day series against Ireland.

Introduced to help bring context to 50-over cricket at the highest level, the Super League will be used as a qualification system for the next ICC World Cup, scheduled for 2023 in India.

There will be 13 teams involved – the 12 full members, as well as the Netherlands – and the top seven in the final table will automatically secure their place at the global tournament, the ICC confirmed in a statement.

All sides will play four series at home and away, with each consisting of three matches.

"The league will bring relevance and context to ODI cricket over the next three years, as qualification for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 is at stake," Geoff Allardice, ICC general manager for cricket operations, said.

"The Super League gives cricket fans around the world even more reasons to watch as the drama of league cricket unfolds.

"The decision last week to move the World Cup back to late 2023 gives us more time to schedule any games lost due to COVID-19 and preserve the integrity of the qualification process, meaning it will be decided on the field of play, which is important."

Reigning world champions England will kick things off this week when they start their series against Ireland, the first of three matches between the teams taking place at the Rose Bowl on Thursday.

"We're looking forward to playing cricket again and to the ICC Men's World Cup Super League," England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan said.

"Given the situation, it will be quite different to the last time we played at home, when we lifted the World Cup at Lord's, but it's nice to be starting our journey for the next edition of the tournament. 

"I'm sure cricket fans all over the world will be excited to see white-ball cricket resume and we're looking forward to the challenge."

Australia have included an uncapped trio in their preliminary squad for the proposed ODI and Twenty20 tour of England in September.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Australia are due to play three T20s and three ODIs in England.

Although they have "several hurdles to overcome", Australia named a 26-player preliminary squad on Thursday, including the uncapped Daniel Sams, Riley Meredith and Josh Philippe.

"This preliminary list covers the contingencies of playing one-day Internationals and T20 internationals in bio-secure hubs with the likely prospect of not being able to bring in replacements should the tour proceed," Australia national selector Trevor Hohns said.

"The preliminary list includes several exciting young players who have recently excelled at state level and in the BBL. These emerging players are among those we would like to develop further as we believe they have a bright future in Australian cricket.

"The preliminary list also has a view towards the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup and in the longer term the 2023 ICC World Cup."

Philippe, 23, was the third leading run-scorer in the BBL last season, making 487 at an average of 37.46 for Sydney Sixers.

Sams, meanwhile, was the leading wicket-taker with 30 at 15.36 as he starred for Sydney Thunder, while Meredith, 24, took 10 wickets at 13.70 in just six games for Hobart Hurricanes.

Still, there remains uncertainty over the tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Cricket Australia (CA) executive general manager of national teams Ben Oliver said work was ongoing.

"The ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board] are a long-standing and valued international cricket partner and we are doing all we can to give the tour the best possible chance of taking place," he said.

"We continue to work with the ECB and government agencies and a decision on the tour will be made in due course. 

"In the meantime, the identification of a preliminary list will enable us to work with players and states more directly on the preparation for the tour in the hope it can proceed.  

"The health and wellbeing of players and staff, along with our commitment to public health within our communities, remain our utmost priority."

Australia: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Michael Neser, Josh Philippe, Daniel Sams, D’Arcy Short, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

Australia ODI captain Aaron Finch hailed the consistency of India skipper Virat Kohli and said the rivalry between the two teams is just as big in limited-overs formats as it is Test cricket.

Kohli made his Test debut nine years ago and has gone on to become one of the game's greatest batsmen, as well as taking on the captaincy across all three formats.

There is little love lost on the field between Australia and India but Finch recognises Kohli's class, saying he is part of a group of players such as Steve Smith, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar who define greatness.

"Every player, regardless of who it is, has a bad series. But very, very rarely do you see Kohli, Smith, even going back Ponting, Sachin, these guys they don't have two bad series in a row," Finch said on the Sony Ten Pit Stop show.

"The pressure of playing for India is one thing but also leading India is another and the way he has done it, so consistently for a long time.

"And taking over from [MS] Dhoni, the leadership, that is huge. The expectations were high and he kept delivering and I think that that is the most impressive thing.

"What has been so impressive for so long is just his consistency across three formats. To be the best player of all-time in ODI cricket is one thing. But then to also be in Test cricket and T20 cricket as a rounded player, that is remarkable."

Australia are scheduled to go head-to-head with India for three T20 matches in October, before beginning a four-Test series in December and rounding out with three ODIs in January next year.

The uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic means no fixtures are particularly set in stone right now, but Finch says the rivalry between Australia and India is hot regardless of the format.

"India and Australia are two very successful teams, two countries that are very passionate about cricket as well. So, it's hard to compare the rivalry [in Tests and ODIs]," Finch told reporters on virtual news conference.

"One is the traditional game of Test cricket and the grind of five days, that mental battle day in day out while one-day cricket is more skill-based obviously, just on that day. If a couple of guys have a great day on the field, it goes a long way in winning the match.

"That said, it's not a case of being less important or being taken lightly because it's ODI or T20 cricket."

The global health pandemic has seen Australia's home ODI series with Zimbabwe, which was scheduled for August, postponed indefinitely.

As things stand, T20 clashes with the West Indies and India in October that precede the T20 World Cup – which could still be rearranged – will be the next assignments for Australia.

But there remains the possibility of limited-overs matches being organised to take place in England, something Finch is preparing for.

"It's a little bit up in the air, just with how quickly everything is changing. In Victoria [where restrictions have been tightened] we are going the other way again," he said.

"We're not exactly sure when our next game is going to be. In our mind we were planning for Zimbabwe, we were planning for England, and all going well, I think that was our next game, that's what we are planning for.

"I am preparing to go to England and play, whether that happens we will wait and see.

"We just have to be really conscious of being ultra flexible. There might be a tour comes up at relatively short notice because we can get there, and that would be brilliant.

"Whatever it takes. The players are all in the same boat. Whatever we have to do to get a game up and going, that is in the best interest of world cricket, we’d be up for that."

Australia's ODI series against Zimbabwe scheduled for August has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Zimbabwe were due to play three ODIs in Australia later this year, but it has been postponed.

In a statement, Cricket Australia (CA) said it and Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) had mutually agreed to the decision due to the short length of the series, significant biosecurity measures which would need to be in place and safety concerns.

"While we are disappointed to postpone the series, CA and ZC agree that in the best interest of players, match officials, volunteers as well as our fans, that this is the most practical and sensible decision," interim CA chief executive Nick Hockley said.

"We are committed to working with Zimbabwe Cricket on alternative dates to reschedule."

Acting ZC managing director Givemore Makoni said he was keen to see the series go ahead at another time.

"We were excited about facing Australia but, given the circumstances, deferring the tour was the only option," he said.

"We are, however, looking forward to the rescheduling of the series as soon as practically possible."

There have been more than 10.4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, with the death toll exceeding 507,000.

Rory McIlroy and LeBron James produced memorable moments on June 19, a date that means much to England cricket fans but one their Australian counterparts will always want to forget.

McIlroy was magnificent as he won the 2011 U.S. Open, five years before James and the Cleveland Cavaliers completed a memorable triumph over the Golden State Warriors.

As for the Ashes rivals, England's batsmen were undoubtedly on top in 2018 as they put Australia's poor bowlers to the sword in Nottingham.

Take a look back at some of the memorable moments that have happened on this day through the years.

 

2011: Major breakthrough for McIlroy

Just over two months after enduring a last-round meltdown that ended his hopes of Masters glory at Augusta, McIlroy secured his first major - and in some style, too.

The Congressional course was no match for the Northern Irishman, who left the field fighting it out for second place - Jason Day would eventually finish a distant runner-up - and had the statisticians trawling through the records.

McIlroy's eight-shot triumph was the biggest margin of victory in the tournament's history, while his final score of 16 under was a record for strokes under par (a feat matched by Brooks Koepka in 2017). 

2016: Cavs stun Warriors to reign at last

Having returned for a second spell with Cleveland, the team that drafted him back in 2003, James finally steered the Cavs to glory in the NBA Finals.

The Golden State Warriors appeared on course to retain their title when they led the best-of-seven series 3-1. LeBron, however, had other ideas, inspiring his team to rally from the brink of defeat to claim the city's first professional sports title in 52 years.

His triple-double was influential in deciding the outcome of Game 7, though his most notable play was 'The Block' on Andre Iguodala late in proceedings. Yet it was Kyrie Irving who made the key shot with just under a minute remaining, sinking a three-pointer that helped clinch a 93-89 triumph.

2018: Australia suffer as England run up the score

Going, going gone. England's one-day team made history in the third match of the series against Australia, smashing their way to a world record total in the 50-over format.

Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales both made centuries as the hosts amassed 481-6 at Trent Bridge. Captain Eoin Morgan weighed in with a rapid 67, helping England ease past their previous highest score of 444-3, made against Pakistan just under two years earlier at the same venue.

Australia could only muster 237 all out in reply to suffer their heaviest ever loss in ODI cricket in terms of runs (242 runs, to be precise). They would end up being swept in the series too, going down 5-0.

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