New Zealand allrounder Morna Nielsen retires at 28
Morna Nielsen rose to No. 1 in Women T20Is in 2014 (Getty Images)

New Zealand allrounder Morna Nielsen has announced her retirement from competitive cricket at the age of 28. Nielsen played from 2010 to 2016 in which she picked up 94 international wickets and scored 181 runs from 52 ODIs and 41 T20Is. She last featured in the national team in November 2016 – against Pakistan in a T20 match.

For New Zealand, Nielsen was more effective with the ball than bat, and picked up two five-wicket hauls for the country in ODIs – 5/21 against Sri Lanka in 2015 and 5/39 against South Africa women in October. In T20s, the left- armer’s best reads 4/10 against England in 2012. She started her domestic career with the Northern Spirit in 2007 and leaves having spent over a decade playing with both the Spirit and Otago Sparks.

“Looking back on my career it was awesome to have the opportunity to play at so many different places both domestically and internationally and to do so with people who are now lifelong friends,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen reached the pinnacle of the women’s T20I rankings for bowlers in 2014, and two years later dished out record-breaking figures of 4-0-4-0 against Australia at the World T20 2016, the most economical figures by a bowler in women’s T20s. Nielsen’s accolades fetched her recognition from leagues all over the globe, including the Women’s Big Bash League and England’s Kia Super League.

“It was also an interesting time to be involved with the changing landscape of the women’s game. It opened up opportunities I never thought possible such as the Women’s Big Bash in Australia and Kia Super League in England,” she said.

Former New Zealand player and current coach of the White Ferns, Haidee Tiffen congratulated Nielsen on a successful career, wished her best for her next phase in life, and added that Nielsen will be missed in the locker room.

“Morna was extremely hard working and always willing to adapt and change as the game did. She can be proud of her career with the WHITE FERNS and we wish her every success in life after cricket,” Tiffen said.

Nielsen’s retirement now presents her an opportunity to divert her complete attention on being a structural engineer, something that she was working part-time as while playing for New Zealand.

“A big thanks must go to my work – BCD Group. They have been so supportive of my cricketing endeavours and now it’s time to get stuck into actually doing some work,” she said.

“I’ll still be keeping a keen eye on the Sparks in their domestic competitions. There’s an enormous amount of talent in the squad and they are a great bunch of girls.”