Jess ready to fire as Heat chases finals berth

STRIKE POWER: Jess Jonassen wants to
STRIKE POWER: Jess Jonassen wants to "lead from the front” in the Brisbane Heat's double header at the Gabba. Cricket Australia/Getty Images

CRICKET: Rockhampton's Jess Jonassen is hoping to get among the runs in the Brisbane Heat's must-win double header against the Adelaide Strikers starting at the Gabba tomorrow.

The Heat is sitting fifth on the Women's Big Bash League ladder and needs to win both games against the last-placed Strikers to have a chance of securing a maiden finals berth.

Jonassen has been a standout with the ball and is currently the competition's second-highest wicket taker with 17, two behind Sarah Aley from the Sydney Sixers.

But the all-rounder is hungry for more runs, having scored a total of 171 from 11 innings to date.

"I've been a little disappointed with how I've been going with the bat, it's not as many runs as I would have liked, but with the ball and in the field I'm pretty pleased with how things are going,” she said yesterday.

"Hopefully I can turn around and get a few big scores this weekend and lead from the front in all aspects of the game.”

The Heat have been training well and Jonassen is confident about their chances.

"It's just a matter of staying nice and positive,” she said.

"I think people were relatively pleased with certain aspects of how we played over the weekend (against the Melbourne Renegades) and it's just a matter of putting it all together.

"There's nothing to lose. We'll leave nothing out there and give it our best shot.”

Jonassen, who grew up playing cricket with the boys in Rockhampton, said she was excited at the way the women's game was expanding, being embraced by wider audiences and receiving more media coverage.

She rates the Heat's opening round win against the Sydney Sixers as a highlight of the season, not only because of the thrilling finish but also because of the way it helped affirm women's cricket as an "exciting brand”.

Jonassen - a member of the Australian women's team, the Southern Stars - has a demanding schedule ahead, which includes a 20/20 series against New Zealand, a one-day series in New Zealand and the World Cup in June/July.

"Then I'm looking to play over in the Kia Super League, like the English version of our WBBL, which will be in August following the World Cup over there, and then straight back into Queensland Fire in the WNCL and WBBL again,” she said.

"It is pretty full-on and I guess that's the nature of where the women's game is heading as we're starting to come closer to being professional.

"I've been working really hard with the fitness coaches with Cricket Australia and Queensland Cricket and trying to get my body right because I have for the last three or so years had issues with my knees.

"This has been the first season that I've actually got through playing pain-free so keeping on top of all of that, particularly when the schedule's so busy, will be tough but I've got the support around me to be able to do that.”

Topics:  brisbane heat cricket gabba jess jonassen women's big bash league