Rebel WBBL|03

The WBBL|03 season that was: Sixers

The Sydney Sixers reaffirmed their position as the benchmark team of the competition in WBBL|03

Susie Giese

5 February 2018, 05:50 PM AEST

Position: Champions (after finishing 1st on ladder)

Wins: 12 Losses: 4

Highest total: 2-242 v Melbourne Stars, December 9

Match Wrap: Superb Sixers go back-to-back

Highest individual score: Ashleigh Gardner, 114 v Melbourne Stars

Best individual bowling figures: Dane van Niekerk, 4-13 v Melbourne Renegades

Highlights: Ashleigh Gardner and Alyssa Healy notched up brilliant centuries at different ends of the season – Gardner belted hers in the Sixers’ season-opener, while Healy announced a return to her brilliant best on the final weekend of the regular season.

Ground-breaking Gardner puts Stars in compost

Captain Ellyse Perry passed the 500-run mark for the season, proving a steady and reliable influence with the bat throughout the course of the tournament.

Sarah Coyte made an unbelievable comeback from retirement, starring in the final four matches of the season, including a player-of-the-match performance in the final, snaring 3-17.

Coyte crushes Scorchers in final

Bowling ace: Sarah Aley did it again, finishing equal first on the league wicket-takers tally after finals, but it was leg-spinner Dane van Niekerk who led the competition for much of the season, taking 20 wickets in 12 matches before heading back to South Africa in the later stages of the tournament. She will long remember her hat-trick against Hobart Hurricanes on December 17.

Dane van Niekerk highlights: WBBL|03

Batting star: Ellyse Perry led from the front and was the leading run-scorer of Rebel WBBL|03. She finished with an incredible 552 at an average of 46, setting her team up early and letting loose late in innings. Pleasingly, after last year’s injury-interrupted season, she played every game in WBBL|03.

Sixers skipper Perry seals victory with boundary

On the rise: Ashleigh Gardner. WBBL|02 may have been Gardner’s breakthrough season, winning the Rebel Young Gun Award, but she took her game to another level in WBBL|03.  She started with a brilliant century in the Sixers’ season-opener – breaking the record for fastest fifty and hundred in WBBL history along the way. Concussion concerns derailed her season and set her back somewhat, but she was back to her best by the end of the season.

What they need for WBBL|04: To keep their list together. It’s difficult to find any area where the Sixers are lacking, so the key is just to maintain what they’ve got. They had a few small lapses during the season, but for the most part looked their dominant self. Back-to-back championships and three consecutive final appearances say it all.

In a nutshell: The Sixers started with a bang, notching up the biggest total in WBBL/BBL history, and finished with another dominant display in the final. They jostled with crosstown rival Sydney Thunder for top spot on the ladder, but eventually gained bragging rights on the final weekend. They reaffirmed their stance as the benchmark team of the competition with two dominant wins in the finals and the honour of being the first WBBL team to claim back-to-back title wins.

WBBL|03 squad (including rookies and injury replacements): Ellyse Perry (c), Sarah Aley, Erin Burns, Stella Campbell (rookie), Lauren Cheatle (injured), Sarah Coyte (local replacement player), Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth (IRE; rookie/injury replacement), Alyssa Healy, Jodie Hicks, Clara Iemma, Amy Jones (ENG/overseas replacement), Marizanne Kapp (SA), Emily Leys, Carly Leeson, Sara McGlashan (NZ), Angela Reakes, Lauren Smith, Dane van Niekerk (SA).