Ashleigh Gardner launched her Rebel WBBL|03 campaign in the best possible manner with a record-breaking ton against Melbourne Stars on Saturday evening.
The Sydney Sixers first-drop was on from the first delivery she faced, smashing her way to the fastest 50 in WBBL history, taking just 22 balls to reach the milestone.
It was a feat Stars' boom recruit Lizelle Lee equalled in the second innings, but the South Africa wicketkeeper-batter couldn't carry on, trapped LBW by Lauren Smith on 64.
For Gardner, however, it became an historic knock. As she belted her way to the highest score in WBBL history (114 of 52), captain Ellyse Perry was happy to keep ticking the strike over to keep the in-form 20-year-old on strike.
The pair combined for the third-highest partnership the WBBL has seen, putting on 150 runs for the second wicket.
"It's so surreal, I can't believe it's happened, to be honest," Gardner said post-match.
"When I got out there Pez (Perry) just said to me, 'Just bat the way that you do', and it did help that they bowled into my arc probably more times than not.
"But it was just so awesome to be out there and to score a hundred – (to be only the) third one in the WBBL is just so special, and obviously I'd love to do it again.
"(It's the) first game, so hopefully I can put on another performance like that this year."
Gardner's phenomenal innings feature 10 sixes and nine fours, bringing a heavily pro-Sixers North Sydney Oval crowd to its feet when – fittingly – the ton came on the back of another belting maximum.
So heavily did the exciting young talent dominant the innings, she hit her half-century while her captain was still in single digits.
"When I got out there, I just felt so positive, and obviously batting with Pez was a massive help as well, but I never knew I was going to do that," Gardner said.
"She did actually have a joke with me, saying she was my runner out there, because I probably did hog the strike a little bit, but she was so great out there. She was just trying to get me on strike and hitting to my strengths."
Perry had an innings to remember in her own right, smashing her highest WBBL score with an unbeaten 91.
How can I tune in?
This season, you will be spoiled for choice with where to get your daily dose of WBBL action. Network Ten is broadcasting nine matches on its main channel during the regular season, with both semi-finals to be shown on One, before the final returns to Ten. All remaining matches will be live streamed free on cricket.com.au and via the CA Live app.
This year, Australia’s No.1 editorial brand for women, Mamamia, has jumped on board and joined forces with Cricket Australia. The partnership will see Mamamia carry all 47 cricket.com.au live-streamed matches.
How can I go to a game?
The great news is, all WBBL standalone games are free to attend! Rock up at the ground, walk through the gates and get ready to enjoy a few hours of pulsating cricket entertainment with your family and friends.
Tickets for the WBBL-BBL double-headers can be purchased here.
Is there a WBBL Fantasy competition?
This summer there is a revamped Big Bash Fantasy competition, featuring the WBBL for the first time! The WBBL Fantasy will look slightly different to the men’s, with a new team of five players able to be picked each game day. Select two batters, two bowlers, a wicketkeeper and you’re right to go!