Following a tight five-run win over India in the first semi-final of 2023 ICC Womens T20 World Cup, Australias left-arm spin all-rounder Jess Jonassen said the side being on the right side of the result showed their resilience and belief within the group.
By stopping a stern counterattack from Jemimah Rodrigues and captain Harmanpreet Kaur, Australia managed to seal their place in the Women's T20 World Cup final for the seventh consecutive time by restricting India to 168/7 in response to their 172/4 at the Newlands Cricket Ground.
"Alyssa Healy brought us together and was saying there's a few people who may have thought that we coasted through the group stage in the World Cup, but today's (Thursday's match) effort proved that we could get the job done, whatever way.
We had our backs against the wall, we were down and out for a large part of that bowling innings. But to come through at the end with the result in our favour just showed the resilience of that group and the belief that's within, and that goes a really long way," Jess was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
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When Jess was given bowling duties for the 19th over, India needed only 20 runs for a famous victory. She gave away just four runs and ended by castling Sneh Rana. It made things easy for Ashleigh Gardner to defend 16 off the last over.
"To be honest, I wasn't nervous at all. I was probably more nervous earlier on in the innings, with both ball in hand, but also out in the field. India had an incredible partnership with Harmanpreet and Jemimah so we knew we had to break that.
Coming in, in those death overs, those moments, I love that stuff. I live and breathe it. I almost feel like I've made it my own with this team, that that's my role and I absolutely love it, so any opportunity I get, I take it with both hands," she said.
Jess, who defended 11 runs off the last over against India to seal the gold medal for Australia at Commonwealth Games last year, was brought back to the playing eleven for the semi-final at the expense of leg-spinner Alana King. If she manages to hold on to her spot for Sunday's final, it will mark her milestone 100th T20I match.
"I'd come to terms with the fact that I might not have been playing because the girls have been doing an incredible job and getting through the group stages undefeated and not being part of the last couple of games, I wasn't sure whether there'd be any changes and whether I'd be able to push my way back in. Thankfully, Shell (Nitschke, head coach) came knocking on my door later that night and told me I was in," she concluded.