Fifteen months after he bowled for India in an One Day International, Ravindra Jadeja marked his run-up once again in the 10th over of the innings against Bangladesh at the Asia Cup in Dubai on Friday. The last time he played an ODI for India was in July 2017 against West Indies in Kingston.

It had been a long wait and it seemed eagerness got the better of him. He overstepped off his second ball. A free-hit was called. He went back to the mark and delivered the next ball, which Shakib al Hasan hit straight to the fielder but the umpire had called it a dead ball just before Jadeja had released it. Confusion ensued. It seemed to be an issue with setting the field and the umpire had a chat with captain Rohit Sharma, with Jadeja and MS Dhoni getting involved. No one seemed quite sure what was going on but it was evident that Jadeja had to rebowl the free-hit delivery. Shakib smacked it through cover this time around for a four and followed that up with another boundary, this time a sweep through square leg.

Three legal deliveries into his comeback and Jadeja was already being targetted by Bangladesh. Perhaps they knew they couldn’t afford the third spinner in the bowling attack to dictate terms. Perhaps Shakib sensed that he could be rattled. It was starting to look like a tough comeback was on the cards for the man from Saurashtra, but up stepped Dhoni to add a twist. He got Rohit to change the field, and a fielder was moved to short square leg. As fate would have it, Shakib swept Jadeja again and found Shikhar Dhawan with unerring accuracy off the very next ball.

Fate. That word would feature prominently in Jadeja’s comeback as he went on finish with figures of 10-0-29-4, turning the match decisively in India’s favour. Jadeja’s previous wicket in ODIs? Against Bangladesh in the Champions Trophy, when he dismissed Shakib, of course.

Let’s recap a bit here.

Had R Ashwin not been injured for the final Test and paved the way for him to impress with an all-round performance at The Oval. Had Hardik not injured his back against Pakistan. Had Axar Patel (surely Hardik’s replacement in the XI) not injured his finger while fielding... it was improbable that we would be talking about Jadeja being the match-winner in an ODI for India at the Asia Cup. But, here we are, with talks already of whether Jadeja should be a part of India’s World Cup plans.

Destiny, it suddenly seemed, has a new favourite child.

The player of the match award on Friday in the Super Four match came with a sense of irony sprinkled on the sides. The two men who replaced Jadeja and Ashwin in the side went wicket-less in their 20 overs as Bangladesh were extra cautious against Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. It was not as if they bowled poorly — on quite a few occasions, they were too good to be read by the Bangladeshi batsmen — but the wickets wouldn’t come for them and all they could do was build up the pressure. But, as any good bowling attack should, India hunted in pairs and it was Jadeja who reaped the rewards for Kuldeep and Chahal’s tight spells.

As per the team’s best laid plans, the middle overs saw India completely dominated Bangladesh. Here’s how the sequence of overs went from overs 22 to 27, in reverse order:

3 singles, 3 dot balls
2 singles, 4 dot balls
1 single, 5 dot balls
2 singles, 4 dot balls
1 single, 5 dot balls
2 singles, 4 dot balls

This was the period when life was sucked out of the Bangladesh innings and the protagonist for that was Jadeja, who had taken three Bangladesh wickets in his first five overs. After Dhoni’s intervention saw him remove Shakib, he went on to dismiss Mohammad Mithun and Mushfiqur Rahim — the architects of Bangladesh’s revival from another poor start in the tournament opener against Sri Lanka. Three big wickets in his first spell of bowling, back wearing India’s blue.

“I always wanted to make a mark, and whenever I get the chance, wanted play to my potential and do my best,” said Jadeja at the post-match presentation, holding the player of the match trophy in his hands. “That finally happened today and I’m very happy. Kuldeep and Chahal were building the pressure on the batsmen and I was getting the wickets”

Fortune, perhaps, favoured the brave, sword-twirling Rajputan and he sure made the most of it. A World Cup ticket is not a guarantee by any means but Jadeja has, at the very least, thrown his name into the hat once again. For now on, he is the master of his fate.