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India beats Afghanistan after 2 Super Overs in third T20 after Sharma's century

India's Virat Kohli gestures as he warms up before the third T20 cricket match between Afghanistan and India in Bengaluru, India, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Surjeet Yadav)

BENGALURU, India (AP) — Rohit Sharma scored a record-breaking fifth T20 hundred Wednesday as India needed two Super Overs to beat Afghanistan and claim the three-match series 3-0.

Ravi Bishnoi picked two wickets in three balls of the second Super Over as Afghanistan faltered in its chase of India’s 11-2, after Sharma had followed up his century by hitting a four and a six before being run out. In between, Rinku Singh was caught behind.

In the first Super Over, India needed 17 runs off six balls. Sharma hit two sixes that time before retiring but Yashaswi Jaiswal failed to score the two runs needed off the last ball as the match ended tied for a second time.

That was after Sharma smashed 121 not out off 69 balls for his fifth T20 hundred and highest T20 score to help India score 212-4 in 20 overs.

Rinku Singh scored 69 not out off 39 balls as the duo put on 190 runs off 95 balls for the fifth wicket — a T20 record for India.

Afghanistan put up a stunning chase, with its top three batters all scoring half-centuries, and finished with 212-6 in 20 overs.

Sharma hit 11 fours and eight sixes in his century, going past compatriot Suryakumar Yadav and Glenn Maxwell (Australia), who both have four T20 hundreds each.

Overall, Sharma hit 11 sixes on the night, including the two Super Overs. Remarkably, he was out for consecutive ducks in the first two T20s.

Opting to bat after winning the toss, India was down to 22-4 in 4.3 overs as left-arm pacer Fareed Ahmad picked 3-20.

Jaiswal was out for four runs and was followed by a quick double blow. Virat Kohli holed out for a first-ball duck, as did Sanju Samson, both failing to latch on to short deliveries.

Sharma and Singh then came together, and weren’t separated until the end of India’s regulation innings.

Together, they smashed India out of trouble, hitting 14 sixes in all. They took 36 runs off Karim Janat in the final over of the regular innings – the third time that has happened in T20 internationals.

Sharma’s hundred came off 64 balls overall – his first 50 had come off 41 balls.

In reply, Afghanistan set forth a hectic chase. Openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran smacked 93 off just 66 balls for the first wicket.

The visitors were ahead of the curve at that stage, but for Indian spinners to peg them back. Washington Sundar (3-18) and Kuldeep Yadav combined for three quick wickets as Afghanistan slipped to 107-3 in 12.4 overs.

Gurbaz had scored 50 off 32 balls, while skipper Zadran scored 50 off 41 balls.

Gulbadin Naib then played a rescuing hand and scored a quickfire 55 not out off 23 balls. He hit four fours and four sixes, guiding the chase through the death overs.

Mohammad Nabi contributed 34 off 16, as the equation came down to 19 off the last six balls.

Afghanistan got 18 of those, forcing the game into back-to-back Super Overs.

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AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket