Sterre Kalis is heading off on international duty later this week – and the Netherlands star is backing her Northern Diamonds team-mates to get the job done whilst she’s away.

Opening batter Kalis is playing the first two games of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy season before travelling to Abu Dhabi for the ICC T20 World Cup Global Qualifiers event, which runs from Thursday through to May 5.

She played in Saturday’s opening round mauling of Lancashire Thunder at Durham, contributing 28, and will face Western Storm at Headingley on Wednesday (10.30am).

Kalis then flies out to the UAE on Thursday ahead of the Netherlands first game on Saturday, the 24-year-old having missed their preparations and warm-up games in favour of staying with the Diamonds.

She will miss three regional fixtures. 

“It was hard for me to choose between the two – I want to play for my country in a global event like this but also want to play and contribute for the Diamonds.

“I’m happy we’ve found a bit of a middle way.

Sterre Kalis

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Sterre Kalis in high spirits in the field against Thunder on Saturday.

“I didn’t want to be missing any Diamonds game, so missing three is tough. But playing for your country in the World Cup Qualifiers, it’s the biggest tournament we get to play in as Associate cricketers.

“I’m backing the girls to do well when I’m away, and of course I’ll be keeping an eye out for the results.”

If Saturday’s evidence is anything to go by, the Diamonds are in good order.

They brushed Thunder aside by nine wickets, with star performances from Katie Levick with four wickets and unbeaten half-centuries for Lauren Winfield-Hill and captain Hollie Armitage.

Kalis reflected: “We are really happy with our first win of the season. 

“The bowlers got the job done and bowled our local rivals out for 165. 

“Lauren and I got off to a good start with an opening partnership of 59 before Hollie came in and showed what she is capable of by finishing the game off with Lauren.

Lauren Winfield-Hill

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Lauren Winfield-Hill shared in a half-century opening stand with Sterre Kalis.

“Now, our focus is on the game against the Storm at Headingley on Wednesday.”

The Diamonds face a Storm side who were bowled out for 114 by Sunrisers on Saturday and lost by eight wickets.

“If you look at our squad, we’re fit and ready to go,” continued Kalis. “It’s a good opportunity for other girls to step up and show what they can do whilst I’m away.

“It’s a really strong line-up we have, and Erin Burns having arrived fits into that very well. Her experience will be massive for us.

“Hollie and Bess have both had good winters overseas with England and in some franchise competitions as well. Lauren as well, she’s been away and has done well. 

“Then we’ve got a lot of other batters who can get the job done.

“Last year was a year where we gave people chances and were investing in the youth and all of that stuff.

Jess Woolston

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Sterre Kalis congratulates Jess Woolston, one of Saturday’s key contributors, following her dismissal of Emma Lamb.

“This year, we really want to play for trophies and focus on winning in the last year wearing the Diamonds badge.”

Kalis helped get the Diamonds chase of 166 off to an excellent start against Thunder on Saturday, sharing that aforementioned half-century opening stand with Winfield-Hill. 

She has come into this summer off the back of a winter which saw her play grade cricket in Tasmania before Christmas. 

“I’ve had a good winter,” she said. “I went to Australia at the start playing in the T20 competition and training with the Tigers state squad, then had a good block with the team (Diamonds) from January onwards. 

“Mumbai was a good experience on and off the field for the 10 days we had there.”

And talking of Australia, that’s where overseas all-rounder Erin Burns has come from.

She made an impressive start on Saturday with 1-18 from 10 overs of off-spin and is someone Kalis knows well having played with her for Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred.

Picture by YCCC. Debutant Erin Burns, second left, is handed her Diamonds cap alongside Sophia Turner. Burns was handed her cap by Lauren Winfield-Hill (l), and Turner by Jess Woolston (r).

“Erin’s such a good cricketer all round,” she added. “On and off the field, she’s really good and a big addition with a lot of experience in our young squad. 

“She will be a massive contributor to our team.”

Katherine Fraser and Rachel Slater are also playing in the World Cup Qualifying event in Abu Dhabi for Scotland, but they travelled for warm-up matches at the start of April.

The Storm, meanwhile, are captained by Sophie Luff and have signed Australian leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington as their overseas player.

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