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Sixers keep top spot in WBBL

AAP logoAAP 8/01/2017 Scott Bailey and Andy Drummond

Teenage star Ashleigh Gardner kept the Sydney Sixers at the top of the WBBL ladder on Sunday, blasting 40 off just 23 balls against Perth to set up a 12-run victory.

The second-placed Scorchers appeared to have the Sixers in trouble early in the top-of-the-table clash at Sydney's Hurstville Oval, dismissing Australian stars Ellyse Perry (0) and Alyssa Healy (3) in the opening three overs.

Reeling at 2-5, Gardner then put on a match-defining rear-guard action that justified recent talk of Australian selection.

The 19-year-old hit seven fours and one six in the knock, ensuring that 34 of her runs came through boundaries before she was bowled by Katie-Jane Hartshorn.

It took Gardner's average for the tournament to 33.12 at a strike rate of 120.45, and ensured the Sixers would reach 6-132 with New Zealander Sara McGlashan also striking a well-composed 36.

In reply, Kiwi Suzie Bates was a lone figure, hitting 52 from 53 balls before she was dismissed by Sarah Aley (2-24).

No other batter passed 20 as the Scorchers finished at 6-120.

The win gave the Sixers a two-point buffer over Perth, who are equal with Brisbane on 10 points after they defeated Hobart by 15 runs on Sunday.

Southern Stars back-up 'keeper Beth Mooney was the stand out, hitting an unbeaten 78 as her and fellow opener Kirby Short (43) made a statement with an 83-run partnership at Bellerive.

Mooney's knock came off 60 balls and included seven fours - making it the highest of her tournament and her third successive half century.

"The start of the season wasn't great for me," she told the Ten Network after Brisbane's innings which finished at 2-153.

"I went back and thought about things I had to do to turn it around and win games for the team and fortunately in the previous few games I've been able to do that."

In reply, New Zelander Amy Satterthwaite and West Indian Hayley Matthews threatened to take the game away from the Heat with a 51-run fourth-wicket stand off just 36 balls.

Matthews struck three fours and one six, but when she was bowled by Jemma Barsby (3-34) for 34 off 26 deliveries it sparked a mini-collapse of 4-7.

Barsby then later returned to have Satterthwaite (57) caught in the final over to wrap up the 15-run victory, and leave the Hurricanes fourth on nine points, one clear of the Melbourne Stars, Sydney Thunder and Adelaide.

Both Sunday's fixtures are repeated again on Monday.

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