Ajinkya Rahane announced his return to form in Monday's Indian Premier League (IPL) match against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Indian captain Virat Kohli will be happy with the timing, despite being at the receiving end in Abu Dhabi.
Delhi Capitals (DC) head coach Ricky Ponting had said before the start of the tournament that Rahane, more of a timer than a slogger, was not "an automatic choice" for the side chasing their first IPL title.
Rahane sat out DC's first six matches and when opportunities finally came he could not immediately grab them, managing only 51 runs in his first five outings. However, back at No. 3 after struggling as an opener, Rahane scored a fluent 60 off 46 balls in their six-wicket win against Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore.
"Ricky told me when we came here that I would bat No. 3. It's a good number to bat on," said Rahane, who will be Kohli's deputy in India's four-Test series in Australia beginning on December 17.
"It was disappointing to get out. I wanted to finish the game. We know how funny this game is, but in the end good to win this game and qualify.”
Despite the defeat, RCB joined defending champions Mumbai Indians and DC in the play-offs.
DC captain Shreyas Iyer, who vacated the No. 3 position for Rahane, said the 32-year-old was very much in their play-offs scheme.
"He carries a lot of experience in the IPL and the way he paced his innings, it was amazing to see," Iyer said."The loose balls he punished, other than that he was taking singles and twos. It was a great example and I think he peaked at the right time, just when we needed him. With a few important matches coming up, he will definitely play an important role in them."