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Darlington’s return to form a catalyst for Thunder's winning ways

Callan Morse -

Hannah Darlington's form during this season's Women's Big Bash League has seen the 21-year-old seamer ranked amongst the competition's best partway through the tournament.

In eight matches for her hometown Sydney Thunder, Darlington has collected 16 wickets at 14.63, more than doubling her WBBL|08 haul of seven wickets at 27.71 and ranking her fifth highest on the WBBL|09 most wickets table.

It's the type of form that saw the then 19-year-old picked for her debut appearance in the green and gold back in 2021, where she played a sole ODI and T20 against India on home soil.

The proud Kamilaroi says she feels the ball is coming out better than when she last featured in the national side.

"I'm 100 per cent (bowling better)," Darlington said, via cricket.com.au.

Darlington celebrates the wicket of Kim Garth on her way to a career-best 5-10 against the Melbourne Stars on Friday. (Image: Dan Himbrechts/AAP)

"My body is in a much better situation.

"A few seasons under the belt has put me in good stead to stand at the top of my mark and want to bowl quickly."

Darlington has an interrupted 2022 preseason after suffering a knee injury and missing part of WBBL|08 and Women's National Cricket League seasons.

However after a full preseason heading into the 2023-24 summer of cricket, Darlington said she feels more prepared after having time to work on her craft with the ball.

"Just playing with pace has been a big thing," Darlington said, via cricket.com.au.

"Bowling the same delivery, but changing the pace with how I use my hands or my wrist in different situations.

"It's been nice to have a full preseason because you get more time to bowl rather than just being chucked out onto the field and hoping for the best."

Having already picked up four multi-wicket hauls in WBBL|09, Darlington's standout tournament performance and career best figures came against the Melbourne Stars on Friday.

The versatile quick took 5-10 from her four overs, picking up the likes of former Australian captain Meg Lanning and British international Alice Capsey.

Darlington's 5-10 earned her Player of the Match honours against the Stars. (Image: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Her standout performance saw the Thunder successfully defend their 10-125, restricting the Stars to 9-121 from their 20 overs at the often high-scoring North Sydney Oval.

Although missing out on national selection for the upcoming multi-format tour of India, Darlington told cricket.com.au she isn't phased about when her next international call-up may arise.

"I'd love to be back in Australian colours," Darlington said.

"Whether that's soon or in a year or two doesn't really bother me at the moment."

The Sydney Thunder (6-2) currently sit a point from the top of the WBBL|09 ladder behind the Perth Scorchers (7-3).

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