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Prolific Sharma leading charmed life at Cricket World Cup

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Catch him if you can. Rohit Sharma became the leading scorer at the Cricket World Cup on Tuesday, and once again had a little help from the opposition despite his batting brilliance.

Sharma hit seven fours and five sixes in a 92-ball 104 as India beat Bangladesh by 28 runs at Edgbaston to qualify for the semifinals. It was Sharma's record-matching fourth century of the World Cup. He also scored 122 not out against South Africa, 140 against archrival Pakistan, and 102 against England.

In all four innings, Sharma was dropped early on. It was the turn of Tamim Iqbal, a fellow opener, on Tuesday. "I had a great feeling right at the start," the 32-year-old Sharma said about his batting form, not Tamim's fingers. "It's a great pitch to bat on."

Sharma did concede he had been lucky but added: "Fortune favors the brave." Tamim dropped Sharma, who was on 9 at the time, on the deep square boundary off Mustafizur Rahman. It was an easy chance — Tamim had lots of time — and Sharma was definitely not a batter to drop.

He made sure his next attempted and successful six went much further in the following over, off Mohammad Saifuddin. The only other batsman to hit four centuries in a single World Cup is Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara, in 2015, but Sharma has his eyes on an even bigger record.

Sharma has now scored 544 runs in seven innings. That's two more runs than Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan, who scored 66 on Tuesday. Going into the match, Australia openers David Warner (516) and Aaron Finch (504) had led the scoring.

Shakib has one game left — against Pakistan — so it's unlikely but not impossible that he'll catch Sachin Tendulkar's all-time record haul of 673 runs at one World Cup. That was set in South Africa in 2003 when India reached the final.

Unlike Bangladesh, India has advanced to the semifinals. Sharma has potentially three games ahead of him if India reaches the final. He needs 130 more runs to go past Tendulkar. On Tuesday, after arriving at the century mark in 90 balls, Sharma hit a four off Soumya Sarkar and then sent a mis-hit drive to Liton Das.

Unlike Tamim, Das caught it.

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