A composite image of Ash Gardner and Tahlia McGrath

Sydney Sixers’ Ash Gardner and Adelaide Strikers’ Tahlia McGrath to lock horns in tantalising WBBL final

Australian cricket’s two new superstars will get their chance to light up the WBBL final, with Ashleigh Gardner and Tahlia McGrath set to lock horns in Saturday’s decider.

Gardner this week added the WBBL MVP award to her status as reigning Belinda Clark Medallist, with the Sydney Sixers all-rounder one of the most dangerous players in the game.

In the past two years, she has struck at more than 100 for Australia in both white-ball formats and averaged 36.15, and also being the team’s third highest wicket-taker with 25.

She will loom as the Sixers’ X-factor, with her 85 from 48 last week against the Sydney Thunder demonstrating that Saturday’s venue in North Sydney Oval is far too small for her.

McGrath’s run is arguably better.

The Adelaide Strikers skipper was named as Australia’s new vice-captain for the tour of India following an incredible 18 months.

Out of the national team before last summer, McGrath is now a permanent fixture averaging 56.15 across all formats since.

The Strikers are out to make amends in the WBBL final against the Sixers.(Getty Images: Jenny Evans)

Australia have for a long time had one of the most dependable cores in world cricket, with Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry leading the way.

But at a time where a changing of the guard looms, Gardner and McGrath sit at the front of it.

“The way Ash is putting together her cricket resume, she has already achieved so much, but she has a lot left to achieve too,” Perry said.

“But if you look around Australian cricket, there are that many superstars at the moment.

“Look at Tahlia last year and the 12 months she had.

“Someone like Phoebe Litchfield who has been named in her first Australian team and just the incredible potential she is showing.”

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