WASHes 2023 – Jess Jonassen in awe of Beth Mooney doing things with Beth Mooney

His 61 from 41 against India set Australia up for a narrow nine-run victory last August before Ashleigh Gardner turned the screw with two wickets on as many and three for the game. On Saturday night, fly-half Mooney deftly set up Australia’s pursuit of 154 to an identical scoreline – this time unbeaten and on 47 balls – in another tight finish as wickets fell around her, while clearing the composure that has defined his previous innings here and is a hallmark of not just his game, but that of this entire Aussie team.

For proof of that calm and confidence that pervades a side that have won 23 of their last 24 T20Is completed, take Annabel Sutherland’s four through the deep back square on the first ball she faced as she entered the no. No.7, Australia needing 14 runs. the last nine balls of the match, followed by another overhead return from the best bowler in the shortest format, Sophie Ecclestone. Or No. 8 Georgia Wareham, who arrived after Sutherland was dismissed with the scores tied and two balls remaining, hitting her first ball to cover and scrambling a single with Mooney, who had placed the ball effortlessly on the covers on the last ball from penultimate to help relieve pressure on his side.

As Jess Jonassen, the left-arm spinner who took 3 for 25 to restrict England to what looked like an easily achievable goal before Australia lost four wickets for 23 runs in the space of 17 ball, Beth Mooney was just doing Beth Mooney things.

“She’s amazing and she has a phenomenal hunting record as well,” Jonassen said. “She just knows the pace and she’s also an incredible manipulator of the pitch. That makes things quite tricky. I always find her one of the hardest people to play in the net, so it’s always nice in international cricket when she is finally by my side.

“She was amazing. She really held that chase together and allowed a lot of others, like Tahlia McGrath and Ash Gardener when they also started at different times, she was able to play that role and then hit as well. A couple of crucial points. Limitations at very important times as well. So yeah, she pretty much does things with Beth Mooney.

McGrath had worked well, adding 40 from 29 before being puzzled by Amy Jones, the England wicketkeeper who also played a blinder with the bat to keep the hosts in the game, while Gardner scored 31 from 23 before being caught. behind.

Australia made a few on-field errors in this game, but they kept their cool when it mattered most, as they so often seem to do.

“It was pretty tight at the end, but an amazing show,” Jonassen said. “We knew we had the firepower in the hangars to be able to chase that, it just happened to be the penultimate balloon.

“A big thing that we talk about as a group and something that we think is a real bonus of what we can all contribute is that composure and composure under pressure, and in high pressure moments. So while there were probably a few nerves internally…trying not to show it on the outside and trusting and supporting your skills and preparation and knowing that you’ve been there many times before. is sport, it can be cruel, sometimes you come second; but we’ve found as a group, the more calm and composed we have been, the more victorious we have come out.”

Jones was one of only three England batters to hit double figures, his 40 from 21 balls crucial after Sophia Dunkley scored half a century and Heather Knight scored 29 from 22. Ecclestone, Lauren Bell and Sarah Glenn have all claimed two wickets apiece and Jones believes England are closing the gap on this Australian side.

“Mooney hit really well and to have a batsman all the way through you really give yourself the best chance, so I think she was probably the difference there,” Jones said. “The gap seems to be closing. They’ve earned the right to all those compliments and they’ve been really great over the last few years. We felt like underdogs throughout, but I think the test match and today the confidence is growing and we feel like the gap is closing and that’s a really exciting feeling amongst us.”

Australia now lead the multi-format series 6-0, having won last week’s Test at Trent Bridge, which was worth four points. They now need to win just one of their remaining five games to draw and retain the Ashes, while England need to win all five if they are to win the Ashes for the first time since 2013-14.

For her part, Jones will be hoping to maintain the form that saw her produce a round that was “up there” in terms of personal highlights, having turned her attention away from the test, in which she scored 13 and 4 and moved on. to a more instinctive mindset under head coach Jon Lewis.

“I just refocused on what works for me in this format, resetting and thinking about those things really helped me,” Jones said. “That’s how I want to go out and play every game, so I think when that happens I can definitely get a lot of confidence out of it. If something slips into my head – if I want to reverse, just reverse – no doubt. If something pops up, go ahead, remember that.”

England dropped the speedy Issy Wong for the game at their Edgbaston ground, which was prepared by all-female ground staff and offered good pace and lift. She was released from the T20 squad to play in England A’s last 50 win tie with Australia A on Sunday, with the Australians winning the opening two matches.

Valkerie Baynes is Editor-in-Chief, Women’s Cricket, at ESPNcricinfo

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