rise to the occasion
Show unexpected skill in dealing with a difficulty that arises, as in The leading man broke his leg in the first act but his understudy rose to the occasion and was rewarded with excellent reviews. [Mid-1800s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.