David Warner hit a blistering 85 off 53 balls for the Sunrisers Hyderabad against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday as he returned to the IPL, his sights firmly set on a World Cup berth for Australia.
Warner was barred from last year's IPL having also been hit with a 12-month ban from international cricket for his role in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal alongside Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft.
The 32-year-old left-handed batsman has played in Twenty20 leagues in Bangladesh, Canada and the Caribbean, and his international ban is set to end on March 28.
Warner was omitted from Australia's one-day squad for the ongoing series against Pakistan despite being eligible for the last two games, and time is ticking for him to prove his form with the 50-over World Cup beginning on May 30.
His knock on Sunday was in vain, though, as the Kolkata Knight Riders chased down the target of 182 to win by six wickets at Eden Gardens, thanks to Nitish Rana's 68 and late fireworks from Andre Russell, who was not out on 49 off only 19 balls.
Earlier, the Knight Riders had won the toss and elected to field and Warner had opened the batting with England's Jonny Bairstow. The pair made quick work of Kolkata's bowlers in the first 12 overs, with Warner leading the charge in an 118-run partnership.
Warner reached his half-century, a record 37th in the IPL, in the ninth over with a six over third man, launching the ball over the ropes with an acrobatic upper cut.