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Dropped Out And Gutted, Jess Jonassen Proved Her All Round Worth In WPL 2024

Jess Jonassen found herself in a muddy patch of uncharted territory once again when she was dropped from the series against Bangladesh in 2024. Australia is touring Bangladesh after a decade and this series gives an insight into the scenarios about the upcoming T20 World Cup, which is scheduled to pan out in Bangladesh later this year.

This was the third time in about 12 months that she, with 96 T20I wickets at 19.62 and with an economy of 5.76, has been left out of either the test or the limited-over formats. She’s a four-time T20 World Cup champion, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist and a two-time Women’s Big Bash League winner.

Australia won their 6th World T-20 Title in South Africa in March 2023, defeating South Africa by 19 runs, Jonassen ended with a misery 1/21 in 3 overs. In the World Cup as well, JJ got only three matches out of six, claiming 2 wickets for 54 runs. However, Australian cricket took a turn after their victory.

Meg Lanning took another break from cricket, making way for Healy to lead the side. England defeated Australia in both T20I and ODI series, Australia’s first in more than 7 years. Jess Jonassen had claimed 4 wickets in the T20I series including 3/23 in the first match and another 4 wickets came in the ODI series, where Jonassen got 3/30 in the last match.

The fallout came after their series against West Indies. In two matches Jonassen was hammered by Hayley Matthews. She conceded 1/34 (2) and 0/20 (2) before getting dropped from the third T20I and the ODI series. She failed to cut 6 matches against India and 7 matches in the series against South Africa. Skipper Haely pointed out that though this must be hard for Jess Jonassen, this axing doesn’t mean that she is out of the mix.

Jess Jonassen
Jess Jonassen

And the end was not near for her. National selector Shawn Flegler also mentioned that for the last year or so Jonassen’s performance was not matching the selector’s expectations and the rapid growth of the spinners like Ash Gardner and Wareham or even King, has put her place in the final XI in jeopardy.

She also agreed that she wasn’t executing well in a couple of matches and after she was dropped from the side she has been working on a couple of things to fine-tune her performances.

Before her exclusion from the T20I XI in the last 12 months, she had taken 9 wickets, 2nd highest as a spinner after Ashleigh Gardner but her economy was 8.32. And in the last year before she was dropped from the ODI side she had taken 10 wickets in 7 innings with an average of 18.8 and an economy of less than 5. Only Ash Gardner had more wickets (18) with a better economy and average.

When she was dropped out from the test match to make way for Sophie Moniliux, she was gutted. And to wash away her heartbreak break she flew back to play the WNCL game. There she took 4/6 against Western Australia and scored a handy unbeaten 29 from 23 for Queensland.

Meanwhile, Delhi Capitals for the first couple of matches chose their, newest inclusion, Annabel Sutherland, over Jess Jonassen. She conceded 0/38 in her first match against Mumbai Indians and then came up with a much better figure of 1/32 against UP Warriorz.

Meg, to strengthen her trusted general Jess Jonassen in their third match against RCB. In a match where more than 350 runs were scored and none of the bowlers had an economy of less than 6.5, Jess Jonassen bowled her four overs for 3/21. But before her misery bowling, it was her unbeaten 36 from 16 balls with 4 boundaries and 2 sixes that swirled the match in favour of DC.

Coming to bat at no 6 in the 16th  over, Jess first took the attack to Asha Sovana who already got a 5-wicket haul in her last match. Jess, started with a boundary of the first ball, followed by a six over deep mid-wicket and ended the over with another couple of boundaries. 19 runs came from that over. Once Kapp got out, Jonassen took the responsibility to close the match and she did so by hitting a four and a six to another young Indian sensation Shreynaka Patil to take the score to a mammoth 194. 70 runs came from the final 5 overs.

Once she was hit for a couple of boundaries in her first over in the powerplay, Meg decided to save her for the death-overs. Her next went for 6 and another 5 came 18th over. RCB was almost out of the match by then. They needed 28 from the last over. Molineux was caught at deep mid-wicket and a ball later, Simran Dil Bahadur and Asha Sobhana went back to the pavilion in consecutive balls. Jonassen took 3 wickets, giving away 2 runs on the last over. 

ALSO READ: WPL 2024: Delhi Capitals – Comprehensive Season Review

If against RCB, Jess Jonassen showed why she is always trusted over anyone in the death overs with her accurate length and cunning cricket sense, her next match was a prime example of how useful she can be with the new ball as well. Jonassen who twisted her left ankle in the previous over, trying to save a boundary came to bowl after Shikha Pandey conceded 15 in her 2nd over.

Once she realised that Beth Mooney was dancing down the track during a match between Delhi Capitals and Gujarat Giants, she kept the ball short in length which Mooney failed to hit away. The very next ball she kept it full and quick and Mooney this time went for a sweep. She failed and was trapped in front of the middle stump.

A couple of balls later, Litchfield, who had a fabulous outing with the bat in the series against India, last December once the crafty left-arm spinner dangled the carrot by giving more flight to her delivery. Litchfield danced down the play it over mid-off, but only to be caught by Sutherland. Jonassen got two in her first over and Gujrat was 35/3 in the 5th over.

By the time she was once again handed the ball, Ash Gardner was well set and was threatening DC to snatch the match. Her 40 from 30 balls had 5 fours and a six by then. And they needed 60 from the last 6. It took only one ball from Jess Jonassen to eliminate the remaining scare which might have come between DC and a victory.

An accurate reader of batter’s mind, she kept the ball away from Gardner, assuming that she might dance down the track. Once Ash did the same and missed the ball, Taniya Bhatia completed the formalities. Jonassen ended her match with a tally of 3/22. 

Jess Jonassen
Jess Jonassen

Her streak of 3 wicket hauls continued in the next match as well, when her 3/21 against MI avenged their defeat of the first match. Though in later matches she got only 2 wickets in four matches, but that doesn’t undermine her earlier golden patch. She ended up with 11 wickets with an economy of 7.24, the highest for DC this season along with Kapp.

After her performance in the WPL 2024, Australian head coach Nitschke told ESPNcricinfo that she was not surprised to see how Jess Jonassen responded to her axing from the national side by showing what she is capable of. She also proclaimed that being a fighter she knew that Jess Jonassen would do everything to break through the national team once again.

Ellyse Perry after she was dropped from the playing XI in 2022, turned her career in the shorter format of the game as well. It would be interesting to watch if the same formula works for Jess Jonassen or not.

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