A cushion of over 200 runs to defend in a T20 game can be a double-edged sword. While it certainly puts the chasing team under pressure, it could also induce bowlers into taking it easy – or the opposition taking the game head on with little to lose.
Alyssa Healy did just that, giving UP Warriorz a fast start in their chase of 212. Marizanne Kapp and Shikha Pandey bore the brunt of Healy’s fire and so the Delhi Capitals captain Meg Lanning turned quite quickly to her left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen.
Jonassen’s first ball was on the pads and Healy dispatched it to the deep square leg boundary. She then tossed it up wider outside off a couple of balls later, enticing Healy to come down the track and go over the top and had her slicing to backward point. Healy’s innings was cut short for 24 off 17, and Delhi had won half the battle.
Two balls later, Jonassen also had hard-hitting batter Kiran Navgire, who was also the first uncapped player to score a half-century in the WPL, holing out to long-on. Two down inside four overs, Jonassen had successfully managed to put Capitals on course for their second win in as many games.
But Jonassen had done much more than spearhead Delhi’s defence. Her unbeaten 42 off just 20 balls had powered them to their second successive 200-plus score in the WPL. For Queensland Fire in the Women’s National Cricket League and for Brisbane Heat in the Women’s Big Bash League, Jonassen is used to batting in the top order, but in a power-packed batting line-up like Australia, her batting skills are seldom needed.
Capitals have similar firepower at the top. Lanning’s second successive half-century and her fifty-run opening stand with Shafali Verma had once again got them off to a quick start. Lanning kept finding the boundaries regularly, first in the company of Kapp and then Jemimah Rodrigues. Alice Capsey blitzed a ten-ball 21 after Rajeshwari Gayakwad managed to get the better of Lanning once again.
Tahlia McGrath’s unbeaten 90 wasn’t enough to chase down 212•BCCI
So when Jonassen found herself in the middle with less than six overs left, she had a platform to tee off from, with a well-set Rodrigues for company.
Jonassen’s first boundary came via an inside edge off Deepti Sharma’s offspin. She then played the field when she made room and lofted left-arm seamer Anjali Sarvani over extra cover to target the shorter off-side boundary. She powered Sophie Ecclestone past mid-on before giving her Australian team-mate Tahlia McGrath some special treatment.
A length ball was lofted over long-on before Jonassen smacked McGrath over wide mid-off. Rodrigues then hit back-to-back fours to finish the 19th over that went for 19 runs. Jonassen also slog swept Deepti far over deep midwicket to bring up Capitals’ 200.
After those batting exploits and her two wickets in her first over, Jonassen went for 35 off her last three overs and dismissed Devika Vaidya. Warriorz, however, never picked up enough momentum in their chase after Healy and Navgire fell in succession. In a surprising decision, they had opted to play an extra seamer in Shabnim Ismail at the expense of Grace Harris, who had helped them chase down 53 in the last three overs against Gujarat Giants.
McGrath tried her best to challenge the target despite running out of partners and firepower at the other end. She added 49 off 40 with Vaidya before having another 40-run partnership with Simran Shaikh off just 19 balls to finish unbeaten on 90. Delhi eventually prevailed by 42 runs, and are locked in a race with Mumbai Indians for the place at the top of the table.