Sarah Aley has announced her retirement, taking to Instragram to reveal she played her last match for Sydney Sixers in the WBBL at the weekend.
The Sixers failed to make the tournament finals, which start on Wednesday, but they upset the top-placed Melbourne Stars by five wickets in their last match of the season.
Afterwards Aley, the 36-year-old medium pacer who played three matches for Australia, wrote on Instagram: "Well the cat is outta the bag... It's time to call it a day. Have loved every moment in magenta with the @sixersbbl..."
Aley took an excellent catch on the boundary at deep midwicket, juggling the ball and holding on at second grab to dismiss the Stars' and England's Nat Sciver on Sunday. It prompted Alyssa Healy, who scored a stunning 48-ball century in the match, to muse that she and her team-mates believed Aley was going to "go out in style".
"She's really busy working full-time outside of cricket and taking up some coaching roles so I think that's the last time that we'll see her out here which is such a shame considering she had more energy than the 17, 18 year olds out there today in the field," Healy told a post-match press conference.
"She's been such a good mate of mine and such a good team-mate to have alongside you and she's done some amazing things for the Sixers.
"She's just one of those true champions of the game that people will talk about and in 10 to 15 years' time, 'remember Sarah Aley?' and everyone who played with her said, 'yep, I remember the passion that she brought to the game,' so it will be a sad loss."
Healy also gave a glowing video tribute on the Cricket NSW website when Aley retired from the Breakers in May after a Women's National Cricket League career spanning 16 seasons, describing Aley as "the lifeblood of this team for a very long period of time". Then Healy described seeing her friend get the opportunity to play for Australia as "still one of the proudest moments of my career".
Aley played one ODI for Australia against Pakistan at the 2017 World Cup and two T20Is, both against England in Australia later that year.
Aley played all six editions of the WBBL for Sixers and began this season in second place behind Melbourne Renegades' Molly Strano on the competition's all-time leading wicket takers list with 83 wickets at an average of 17.42. Strano went on to become the first player to claim 100 wickets in the WBBL and finished the season with 104, while Aley finished the season fourth on the all-time list with 89.
In her second season in the competition, Aley claimed 28 wickets at 11.75, including 4-23 in the final against the Perth Scorchers. Her haul of 28 wickets remains the most wickets taken by any bowler in a single WBBL season.