The ACT Meteors have landed a major coup, signing star South Africa pair Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp for the upcoming Women’s National Cricket League season.
The Abode Hotels Meteors promised big-name recruits when they unveiled the remainder of their 14-player squad earlier this month and they delivered, with the Proteas pair among just three overseas players currently signed for this year’s domestic 50-over competition.
South Africa captain Van Niekerk was the leading wicket-taker at the recent Women’s World Cup in the United Kingdom, capturing 15 scalps at 10 with her leg-spin, ahead of speedster Kapp who took 13 wickets and who is currently the world’s No.1-ranked ODI bowler.
Van Niekerk made headlines around the world during the tournament when she snared 4-0 against West Indies – the first instance in international cricket history where a bowler had taken four wickets for no runs – and both she and Kapp played crucial roles in South Africa’s journey to the World Cup semi-finals, where they suffered a heart-breaking final-over defeat to England.
Both players - who are also more than handy with the bat - have appeared in the two editions of the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League to date and helped Sydney Sixers to the WBBL|02 title, while their involvement with WBBL|03 has yet to be confirmed.
“I’m really excited to join the Meteors for the upcoming WNCL season,” van Niekerk said.
“I’m really excited after the success we had at the World Cup in England, making the semi-finals. Hopefully we can contribute to the ACT team and help some youngsters.”
The WNCL’s other international player is former Ireland captain Isobel Joyce, who will again turn out for Tasmania Roar.
Van Niekerk and Kapp top off a promising 14-player ACT list, which has also seen the additions of Erin Burns from Tasmania, former New Zealand international Hayley Jensen from Victoria and talented young batter Clara Iemma, who represented NSW Metro at last summer’s Under-18 National Championships.
The Meteors narrowly missed out on making the WNCL finals last summer, while their squad boasts several of the country’s most promising young players including fast bowler Maitlan Brown who was last week named in Cricket Australia’s inaugural women’s National Performance Squad.
The ACT begin their WNCL season with home matches against Victoria (October 6) and Queensland (October 8) at Manuka Oval.
Six of the seven WNCL squads have now been confirmed, with the Lend Lease NSW Breakers the only side yet to name their contract list.
ACT Meteors squad: Sam Bates, Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Nicole Goodwin, Nicola Hancock, Clara Iemma, Hayley Jensen, Marizanne Kapp, Claire Koski, Emily Leys, Katie Mack, Erin Osborne, Ange Reakes, Dane vaan Niekerk
First ODI Allan Border Field, October 22
Brisbane Charity Partner: Lord Mayor's Charitable Trust
Second ODI Coffs International Stadium, October 26
Third ODI Coffs International Stadium, October 29
Day-Night Test North Sydney Oval, November 9-12
First T20 North Sydney Oval, November 17
North Sydney Charity Partner: McGrath Foundation
Second T20 Manuka Oval, November 19
Third T20 Manuka Oval, November 21
Canberra Charity Partner: Lord's Taverners ACT