Sixers surge into WBBL grand final

Ashleigh Gardner was the star of the show as the Sydney Sixers showcased their WBBL title credentials with an 18-run win over the Sydney Thunder at North Sydney Oval.

The Sixers secured top spot and direct entry into the November 26 grand final even before a ball was bowled in Friday night's match.

Hobart's eight-wicket loss to the Adelaide Strikers earlier in the day meant the Sixers couldn't be caught at the top of the ladder.

But instead of going through the motions, the Sixers fought tooth and nail to beat the Thunder, with Gardner named player of the match for her 85 off 48 balls.

Gardner's blistering knock, which featured 10 fours and four sixes, helped the Sixers recover from 2-16 to reach a formidable 6-178.

In reply, the Thunder were cruising at 0-81 in the ninth over before suffering a collapse of 5-38.

The Thunder finished at 7-160, with Kate Peterson (3-27) and Sophie Ecclestone (2-28) playing key roles with the ball.

Opener Tammy Beaumont top scored for the Thunder with 51 off 32 balls, while the retiring Rachael Haynes was unbeaten on 29 off 26 balls.

"I think I'm just having fun - honestly it just comes down to that," Gardner said after earning her fifth player of the match award this season.

"I reflect on where I was last year at this time - I wasn't enjoying my cricket at all. Right now I'm having a lot of fun with my teammates and it's showing on the field."

Brisbane, Hobart, Adelaide, and Perth will battle it out for the remaining three finals positions.

Adelaide moved into fourth spot on the back of a heroic display from captain Tahlia McGrath at North Sydney Oval on Friday.

The 27-year-old Australia international lashed an unbeaten 93 from 51 deliveries as Adelaide chased down Hobart's 154 all out with 31 balls to spare.

The Strikers joined the Hurricanes on 15 points, one behind the second-placed Brisbane Heat. The Hurricanes have a net run rate of 0.54 while the Strikers are just behind on 0.31.

The Scorchers are in fifth on 13 points but have a game in hand.

The Hurricanes play competition leaders Sydney Sixers in the final round on Sunday while the Strikers take on Sydney Thunder.

"It was solid conditions to bat in and I loved it," McGrath told Fox Cricket after her match-winning display.

"I have been well below par so I was just happy to contribute and keep our finals hopes alive. I've just got to keep backing what I do well. Hopefully, this is the start of a bit of form for me."

McGrath had the ideal partner in Katie Mack (29) who was quick to punish anything loose to become the fifth player this WBBL season to pass 300 runs.

Earlier, Hurricanes batter Mignon Du Preez (75 off 47 balls) held the innings together in what was a lone hand.