Gardner on Ecclestone: She’s certainly a bowler we see as a threat

Australia all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner is aware of the “threat” posed by leading left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone during the Women’s World Cup final against England on Sunday.

The two heavyweights will face off for the top prize at the Hagley Oval and Ecclestone will enter the summit showdown as the tournament’s highest wicket-taker with 20 scalps at an excellent average of 12.5 and an economy rate of under four.

“She’s the number one bowler for a reason. She’s a fantastic left-arm off-spinner and she’s quite a tall bowler so she gets a lot more bounce,” Gardner said on SEN 1170 Breakfast show on Friday.

After conceding 77 runs off her 10 overs in England’s 12-run defeat to Australia in the group stage, the left-arm spinner has been instrumental in the team’s remarkable turnaround, claiming 20 wickets at an outstanding average of 12.85, including a career-best 6/36 against South Africa in the semifinals.

Ecclestone says England can beat Australia on its day ahead of World Cup final


On Ecclestone, Gardner added, “On spin-friendly wickets, she can get the odd one to turn as well. She’s certainly a bowler we see as a threat. That’s someone that we don’t want to just give wickets to.

“Our batters played her so fantastically in the first game when she went 0/70. Keeping her quiet for the game is probably our best option.”

Australia’s star all-rounder Ellyse Perry missed the final league match against Bangladesh and the semifinal against the West Indies due to back issues, but Gardner is confident of the player’s availability in the title clash.

“She’s tracking okay. She’s doing absolutely everything possible to get up for that final. She’s such an incredible athlete and she’ll be doing all the right things to try and play for the team.

“To miss out on a 50-over World Cup final, I’m absolutely gutted for her if that’s the case. Fingers crossed for that game, but time will tell,” Gardner said. 

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