Gardener stars in Sydney Sixers WBBL win
Ashleigh Gardner played with bat and ball to help the Sydney Sixers secure an eight-wicket win over the Hobart Hurricanes and propel them to the top of the WBBL ladder.
In a weather-influenced match in Ballarat down to 12 overs per team on Saturday, Gardner returned his best T20 bowling numbers of 4-23 when the Hurricanes went 8-95.
The strong right then led the Sixers chase, breaking the record of 43 of 22 balls as his team hit the target seven deliveries to spare.
The win put the Sixers in first place over Adelaide Strikers and Brisbane Heat in terms of clear cut speed, although the latter were expected to face the Perth Scorchers later on Saturday.
The Sixers joined on Saturday after playing two fewer games than the three teams above them.
Gardner threw three sixes and three fours before being tricked and beaten by a well-flown delivery from parter Maisy Gibson.
New Zealander Suzie Bates (25 out of 24) and fit Erin Burns (23 out of 14) finished the chase successfully.
Gardner got into the crease at number 3 after Alyssa Healy (2) hit an entire field from spinner Molly Strano to cover, giving her just 53 runs from her first five innings, 43 of them in a search.
Spinners Gardner and Sophie Ecclestone (2-16) withdrew the Hurricanes after a great start against the Sixers pacers.
They threw the full set of three overs after the match was stopped as it started an hour late due to a wet outfield.
The Hurricanes lost 6-22 after being well placed 2-71 in the round of 16.
Hurricane captain Elyse Villani’s meager start to the WBBL season continued as he chipped a Lauren Cheatle delivery in half while he was two.
South African hitters Lizelle Lee (24 out of 14) and Mignon du Preez (26 out of 19) gave Hobart a good start.
Lee broke the side edges of his meaty legs before being trapped by Gardner.
Heather Graham (16 of 9) hoisted six straight onto Gardner’s midwicket, but for the third straight she fell on a good dive hold from Bates.
Graham’s ejection triggered the collapse of the final inning with Gardner catching du Preez in the middle of Ecclestone’s deep wicket on the next course.