Ash Gardner’s blitz not enough for Sydney Sixers, Thunder bow out of finals contention

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“I think we batted super, I thought Ash [Gardner] and Nicole Bolton were super,” Sawyer said.

“It’s been less to do with our batting. Apart from today, every game we have won, one of our top four [batters] scored over 50. I’ve just told our bowlers to have a bit of look tonight. What type of deliveries worked for you and try and put that out there.”

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Sixers fans again missed out on seeing Indian import Shafali Verma at the crease. The teenage sensation was pushed into the middle order after failing to produce enough runs as an opener earlier in the season.

Many fans have questioned whether Verma should have been kept at the top of the order given her fearlessness at the crease. Sawyer defended the decision and said the order was likely to stay the same for the rest of the season.

“I’m still happy to bring her up top, but she’s pretty comfortable there in the middle,” he said.

The Sixers don’t have much time to rest, facing the Adelaide Strikers with a less-than-24 hour turnaround on Wednesday at 4.50pm as a result of the truncated season.

“We just spoke in the sheds, and you can’t draw on this game,” Sawyer said. “We’ve got to play [on Wednesday]. You can’t really get too upset. You don’t have a week to dwell on it, you’ve got less than a day.”

Thunder bow out

The Sydney Thunder’s bid to defend their premiership title is officially over after they failed to reach the target set by the Adelaide Strikers in a do-or-die clash on Tuesday night.

The match was the last chance for the Thunder to stay in finals contention but they were unable to chase the Strikers’ total of 176, losing by 18 runs.

 Tahlia Wilson hit 42 from 46 balls.

Tahlia Wilson hit 42 from 46 balls.Credit:Getty

The Strikers finished with figures of 4-176, while the Thunder replied with 6-158.

Tahlia Wilson hit 42 from 46 balls, while Phoebe Litchfield and Issy Wong clocked 40 and 43 respectively in a valiant run chase.

The Strikers produced a more consistent effort across both innings, with Dane Van Niekerk reaching 58 and Laura Wolvaardt hitting 54.

There was a scary moment in the second inning when Maddie Penna was taken off the field for an HIA after taking a ball to the face while fielding. Play was stopped but, in a positive sign, the 21-year-old walked off the paddock without assistance.

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