In the absence of the experienced Rachael Haynes, 19-year-old Darlington was appointed as captain of Thunder for WBBL07 - a team that includes Mandhana, Deepti Sharma and Maia Bouchier. Though the results did not go their way in the first few matches, Darlington kept her calm and led the team with ease.
Speaking to AAP, Mandhana said that the teenager's composure stood out as a skipper even when the results were not going their way. "That's the key thing as a leader that you don't let the pressure or anything show on your face," she was quoted saying to the news agency.
Mandhana added that Darlington kept the team's focus on the positives and had a crucial role in turning the tide around with the two victories. "She looks pretty relaxed and calm for her age. She's doing an amazing job, to lead a team at her age. She's quite approachable, that's the best thing about her, and that's what you want as a captain."
Darlington had a breakthrough season with Thunder in WBBL06, leading to her Australia debut in the multi-format series against India. She became the third indigenous woman athlete to represent Australia.
Darlington and Anika Learoyd, an indigenous athlete from the Gumbaynggirr aboriginal group, had spoken in detail about the Indigenous culture in Australia with their Thunder teammates.
"It's amazing to learn more about the culture...hear their stories and learn more about them. Especially for those of us not from Australia. Within the team, we discuss the culture and the land where we are going to play," Mandhana said.
Halfway through the tournament, Thunder are at the bottom of the points table. Mandhana will be returning to Adelaide Oval, where she played her first international match in Australia, for the Sunday clash against Brisbane Heat.
Thrilled to play at a venue that brings back memories of "watching Virat score a lot of runs," Mandhana said that Adelaide Oval is a good wicket to bat on.
"I'm excited. We didn't start this tournament the way we wanted to, but there were positive signs. Hopefully, we (will) continue this momentum. Ee can't afford to lose many other matches."