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Gardner guides Sixers to victory in final over thriller

Callan Morse -

A team-high contribution from the bat of Ash Gardner has helped the Sydney Sixers to a six wicket victory over the Brisbane Heat at Allan Border Field.

Gardner scored 36 (30) to see the Sixers successfully chase the Heat's 7-176 with one ball to spare.

Arriving at the crease after the loss of opener Ellyse Perry (20 from 10), Gardner compiled a somewhat uncharacteristic innings, finding the boundary just twice during her 12-over stay at the crease.

However the Muruwari allrounder maintained a strike rate north of 100, facing out just four dot balls in her innings.

Partnering first with New Zealand international Suzie Bates (26 from 24), Gardner then combined with Erin Burns (35 from 20) in a team-high 61-run stand.

The pair were looking comfortable until the demise of Burns, who was caught in the deep after attempting to slog sweep against the spin of Heat off-spinner Jess Jonassen (2-26).

And when Gardner then fell two balls later, skying a Georgia Voll leg side drag-down to Courtney Sippel at deep backward square, the Heat were back in the game.

However the Sixers steadied through Mathilda Carmichael (28* from 20) and Maitland Brown (21* from 15) the pair putting on 51 for the fifth wicket to see Sydney secure victory with a ball in hand.

Earlier in the match, the Heat posted a competitive 7-176 on the back of their international imports, with New Zealand allrounder Amelia Kerr scoring 64 (44) and South African batter Mignon du Preez scoring 42 (27).

Gardner was expensive with the ball, finishing with figures of 0-47 from her four overs.

Although going wicketless, she remains in eighth position on the WBBL|09 most wickets table with 17 dismissals.

The victory sees the Sixers return to the winners list after recent defeats at the hands of the Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers.

The Sixers (6-7) currently sit fifth on the WBBL|09 ladder with 12 points, two points behind Brisbane.

Their final match of the regular season, a must-win to secure a finals berth is against the Sydney Thunder at the SCG on Sunday.

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