Sydney Sixers in-form all-rounder Ash Gardner has spoken about the importance of not taking the Hobart Hurricanes lightly as they prepare to face the Tasmanian based side in a do-or-die semi final on Wednesday Evening in the WBBL.
The Sixers who finished 1st on the table tackle the 4th placed Hobart Hurricanes at the Gabba before the Brisbane Heat Vs Sydney Sixers BBL semi.
Yet despite holding a 5-0 advantage over them including a semi-final victory last year Gardner said that the Hurricanes couldn’t be taken lightly
“The girls are all really pumped up for Wednesday’s game and we’ve had a good preparation over the past few days. We don’t want to be taking Hobart lightly particularly in a semi final, we need to bowl to our plans and execute to the best of our ability”.
Gardner pinpoints Hayley Matthews as a danger player for the Hurricanes “She is dangerous with both bat and ball and can turn a game around almost highhandedly. Heather Knight is another player we need to watch closely as she is talented with both bat and ball”.
Gardner has been one of the many shining lights in the Sixers set up during WBBL 02. The 19-year-old has proved her worth with both bat and ball.
In her second full season in the WBBL, she has come on in leaps and bounds and been a major lynchpin in the Sydney Sixers top order. She has also been just as capable with the ball, her off-spin has proved vital at breaking partnerships as well as keeping the runs down.
However the humble 19-year-old isn’t too keen on talking about herself when it comes to individual performances
“I’m quite a humble person, so I don’t really wanna say I’ve been doing great or anything. I’ve had a good few matches but I don’t like to big note myself, just happy the team has been performing well”.
Well would be a gross understatement for the number three batter who has hit three half-centuries in her past ten innings as well as contributing scores of 35 and 40. She has also chipped in with five wickets during that ten-match span.
Her ability to play all the shots out in the middle has seen her develop into one of the most lethal batters in the country.
Her ability and praise hasn’t been confined to Sydney as Gardner was named the Lord’s Taverners Indigenous Player of the Year in early 2015, becoming the first women to win this award.
Her presence on Wednesday will be vital to the Sixers chances of progressing considering captain Ellyse Perry has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.
After losing two games in a row the Sixers got itself back into the winners circle with a confidence boosting win over the Melbourne Renegades on Saturday at North Sydney Oval.
Gardner says that win and the confidence and momentum it has brought the team in magenta has been vital
“Taking the momentum with a win is something you always want to do when you’re preparing for the finals, we lost one of those games against the Renegades but winning that match (on Saturday) has given us a lot of positivity within the camp”.
The Sixers will attempt to go one better than last season where the lost in an all-Sydney derby final against the Sydney Thunder.
It was heartbreak for a side that had gone on a long winning streak and had been the form side of the competition.
Now in WBBL 02 the Sixers have a chance to reverse that pain that was felt last year, Gardner said the rest of the team desperately wants to get back to the final to get another chance at redemption “Everyone’s focus is going one better than we did last year, there was a lot of pain attributed to that game and we want to get back to the final so we can show everyone what we are made of. Our number one focus is getting through the semi’s first and then we focus on who ever is opposite us in the final.
The Sixers will attempt to become the first WBBL franchise to appear in back to back finals as well as the only team to appear in two finals.
With the Sixers BBL team playing afterwards at the Gabba, gardner said she hoped to see plenty of magenta in the crowd.
“Both Sixers teams are playing so it would be great to see some magenta in teh crowd for both games!”.
The Sixers WBBL clash against the Hobart Hurricanes starts at 1.40pm tomorrow followed by the BBL match between the Sydney Sixers and the Brisbane Heat at 6.40pm