Darlington thriving as Kapp's understudy

The Sydney Thunder's 21-year-old homegrown star is soaking up all the information she can from their South African superstar

Melbourne Renegades v Sydney Thunder | WBBL|09

Marizanne Kapp might have found herself a new shadow this Weber WBBL season, with Hannah Darlington determined to learn everything she can from the South African superstar.

Kapp was the No.1 pick at the overseas player draft and her arrival at the Thunder is just one factor playing a part in what has so far been a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for the club this season.

After finishing last on the table with one win last summer, the Thunder have won three of their four games so far in WBBL|09.

On Wednesday, Darlington turned in her best performance of the season – and her WBBL career –taking 4-33 against the Renegades, while Kapp captured 2-23.

The pair were asked to take on the responsibility of bowling in the Power Surge with Tammy Beaumont and Harmanpreet Kaur set in the 11th over and looking to accelerate in the Renegades' chase of Sydney's 5-190.

Kapp removed Kaur, then Darlington got the wickets of Beaumont and Georgia Prestwidge with consecutive deliveries, and the Renegades never recovered.

Darlington takes two in two, finishes with career-best

"Having seen (Darlington) a few years ago and knowing what sort of bowler she is, I think she's put on a bit of pace, which is really nice," Knight said after Tuesday's game.

"I think she's starting to trust her stock ball a little bit.

"Her and Kappie have formed a really nice relationship, which is nice.

"They're bouncing ideas off each other. The Surge is such a hard place to bowl, it's a really tough thing to do and those two are working really well when they do bowl it."

Darlington, for her part, is eager to learn everything she can from allrounder Kapp.

While the South African's batting has improved out of sight in recent years, she has long been among the world's best pace bowlers.

"I've attached myself to (Kapp's) hip as I planned to do and we had a really good conversation in the innings break about how we wanted to go about the Surge," Darlington said.

"We thought one of us would be bowling it, but we both ended up taking an over and to take three wickets in the surge is pretty special, especially from two quicks as well.

"We've been having some great conversations.

"It was nice to be back in the wickets, it's been a bit of a lean start (to the season), but in saying that, I wasn't too fussed about the wickets, so I just wanted to be economical for the team, I find my job is more in that avenue.

"We have some pretty genuine wicket takers like Kappie and even Chamari has been doing a great job for us (so) the wickets were a bonus but it was just nice to be going at under 10 an over."

The Thunder failed to make finals in their last two campaigns since claiming the WBBL|06 title in 2020, and won just one game last season in a year where they had hoped to send off retiring captain Rachael Haynes in style.

After parting ways with former coach Trevor Griffin, the Thunder hired former England coach Lisa Keightley, made the move to their new home at Cricket Central in Silverwater, and made seven changes to last year's list.

Their core of local talent remained largely the same, headlined by young guns Phoebe Litchfield, Anika Learoyd, Olivia Porter and Darlington, and experienced campaigners Sam Bates, Sammy-Jo Johnson and Lauren Smith.

But the Thunder went for fresh imports in Kapp, Lauren Bell and Chamari Athapaththu alongside the return of Knight, who is back in lime green for the first time since playing a key role in the club's WBBL|06 title.

They also brought in exciting young local talent in Ebony Hoskin, Claire Moore and Paris Bowler.

"We're very happy to be in this position," Darlington said of the Thunder's 3-1 record to start the season," Darlington said.

"We wanted to put a club together that wanted to push for success.

"We've spoken about this new era of the Sydney Thunder and what we wanted to bring in, but also utilise what we already had and make the side successful."

Weber WBBL|09 Standings

Matches played
No results
Net Run Rate
Total points
1 Adelaide Strikers Women Adelaide Strikers Women STR 14 11 3 0 0 1.154 0 22
2 Perth Scorchers Women Perth Scorchers Women SCO 14 8 6 0 0 0.784 0 16
3 Brisbane Heat Women Brisbane Heat Women HEA 14 8 6 0 0 0.203 0 16
4 Sydney Thunder Women Sydney Thunder Women THU 14 7 6 0 1 0.298 0 15
5 Sydney Sixers Women Sydney Sixers Women SIX 14 7 7 0 0 -0.253 0 14
6 Hobart Hurricanes Women Hobart Hurricanes Women HUR 14 6 7 0 1 -0.597 0 13
7 Melbourne Stars Women Melbourne Stars Women STA 14 6 8 0 0 -0.779 0 12
8 Melbourne Renegades Women Melbourne Renegades Women REN 14 2 12 0 0 -0.978 0 4

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

T: Ties

N/R: No results

NRR: Net Run Rate

Ded.: Deductions

PTS: Total points