Bravo’s stroke-filled 102, which earned him the “Man of the Match” award, anchored an impressive recovery from 21 for four to lift the West Indies to 285 all out off 49.5 overs batting first at Kensington Oval on Friday.
Gabriel, in just his second ODI, then tore through the Proteas’ vaunted top-order, taking the wickets of Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and captain A B de Villiers in the space of four fearsome overs.
It was a setback from which they never recovered, eventually being dismissed for 186 off 46 overs despite a last-wicket partnership of 51 between Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir. Sunil Narine ensured there would be no escape for the South Africans after Gabriel’s early blast, the spinner taking three for 28 off ten overs.
“I’ve been getting starts in this series without really carrying on,” said Bravo after the match. “I worked extra hard in the nets on Friday and things just worked out for me on Saturday with the support of Polly (Kieron Pollard).”
With their second win in three matches against the Proteas in the tournament, the hosts advance to face World Cup-holders Australia in the final on Sunday at the same venue. It is also the first time in ten years that South Africa have failed to reach the final of a tri-nation ODI series.
West Indies were themselves rocked back at 21 for four when pacer Kagiso Rabada led the assault after de Villiers chose to field. However Bravo’s third one-day century, embellished with 12 fours and four sixes off 103 deliveries, proved invaluable.
Their fifth-wicket stand of 156 was a new West Indian record for the wicket against South Africa and wrested the initiative from the visitors who did not help their cause with characteristically untidy cricket in the field, fast-medium bowler Morne Morkel delivering six of the 17 wides conceded by the Proteas.