Meg Lanning had “full confidence” in Jess Jonassen when she handed the ball over to the left-arm spinner at the back-end of India’s chase. Jonassen took 5 for 12 to trigger a collapse that saw seven wickets go down for 29 runs – she dismissed Harmanpreet Kaur the over after Megan Schutt had sent back Smriti Mandhana and put India’s chase of 156 in a tailspin after they had reached 115 for 3 in the 15th over.
“She’s been in fine form bowling for a long time now. For a spinner to be able to bowl the last three overs from one end in a T20 chase is a very good effort. You don’t see that often, but I had full confidence she would be able to get the job done,” Lanning said. “She is very calm and has really good skills and she can bowl at any point in the innings. It’s nice to see her really confident now. She is an important part of the team. Hopefully she can continue her form going forward.”
All five of Jonassen’s wickets came in her second spell, in the last six overs of India’s innings, during which they lost a wicket in every over but the 19th. Until then, Mandhana and Kaur had set India up nicely with a 50-run stand.
“We talk a lot about trying to stay in the game. T20 cricket can turn very quickly. We knew if we could get a wicket, break that partnership quickly, we could potentially get a bit of momentum back. Mandhana batted brilliantly; sort of hard to slow it down, but once we got that wicket, we were able to turn the screws and put them under pressure, so it’s a good lesson in staying in the game and making sure you just stick it out and hope it will turn your way,” Lanning said.
“We have been put to the test every game we have played [by the] two world-class sides, who are going to do very well in the World Cup coming up. Both with the bat and ball, we feel like we have improved over the tournament”
In their previous meeting, Jonassen had opened the bowling and bowled just one over for 11. Sixteen-year-old Shafali Verma had been particularly severe on spinners that day, and Lanning explained that was one of the reasons Australia had to turn to pace in the final.
“In the first game, Verma was taking on the spinners a fair bit, so we went to pace a little bit. The wicket today was a bit up and down, so we used a bit more pace,” Lanning said. “In that round [league-stage] game against India, I could have perhaps brought [Jonassen] on a little bit early, and that’s what I looked at in review [of that match]. It’s certainly not a game plan; it’s just a gut feeling but she’s shown she can do the job at any point in the match.”
This come-from-behind win has significance beyond just a series title. It comes shortly after the Saturday match during which India had made easy work of a stiff target of 174 and put Australia on the verge of being knocked out from the series. More importantly, it comes less than two weeks before the T20 World Cup, which will start later this month. Lanning acknowledged that winning a tough series like this one was perfect ahead of the big tournament.
“It’s been a brilliant series for us,” she said. “We have been put to the test every game we have played [by the] two world-class sides, who are going to do very well in the World Cup coming up. Both with the bat and ball, we feel like we have improved over the tournament.
“We still feel probably there are a few areas to do that again. I will take this tournament any day getting into the World Cup, to be put under the pump and having to respond to that is a really good thing for this team and we will take a lot of confidence out of the win today.”