BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Darren Bravo stroked his first one-day century in nearly two years before fast bowler Shannon Gabriel stunned the South Africa top order with a rapid spell, as West Indies marched into tomorrow’s final of the Tri-Nations Series with a 100-run victory here Friday night.
Sent in at Kensington Oval, West Indies recovered from a disastrous position of 21 for four in the fifth over to reach 285 all out off 49.5 overs, with the left-handed Bravo carving out 102 from 103 deliveries to record his third one-day hundred.
He put on 156 for the fifth wicket with Kieron Pollard who hammered 62 from 71 balls while captain Jason Holder slammed 40 from 46 deliveries and Carlos Brathwaite, an unbeaten 33.
Rookie seamer Kagiso Rabada was outstanding with three for 31 while medium pacer Chris Morris supported with three for 63.
In reply, South Africa lost wickets steadily to be bowled out for 185 off 46 overs, with right-armer Gabriel finishing with three for 17 from five overs of sustained pace and off-spinner Sunil Narine claiming three for 28.
Farhaan Behardien top-scored with 35, Morne Morkel at number 10 finished on 32 not out while Imran Tahir (29) and Wayne Parnell (28) chipped in, but the innings collapsed badly.
The innings was tottering on 134 for nine but Morkel and Tahir resisted in a 51-run last wicket stand to frustrate the Windies.
No such positive result was envisioned when Rabada produced a lethal burst at the top of the order to leave the Windies innings in strife early on.
They lost Andre Fletcher for eight, edging a flat-footed drive to wicketkeeper de Kock off seamer Wayne Parnell at the end of the second over and the 21-year-old Rabada picked up his first wicket when he had Johnson Charles caught at second slip by Morris for four in the next over.
With the following delivery, Rabada yorked the in-form Marlon Samuels off-stump and in his next over, the fifth of the innings, he rattled Denesh Ramdin (4) with blow to the helmet before plucking out his middle stump next ball.
Bravo and Pollard then came to their side’s rescue in a partnership which was the highest fifth wicket stand for West Indies against South Africa.
While Bravo struck 12 fours and four sixes, Pollard counted seven fours and two sixes.
Fortune favoured Bravo on 11 when he top-edged a pull off pacer Morkel in the 11th over only for Parnell on the long leg boundary to parry the ball over the ropes for six.
Emboldened by his reprieve, Bravo greeted the introduction of Imran Tahir in the next over with a six over long on off the leg-spinner’s second ball and he then cruised to his half-century off 52 deliveries, bringing up his landmark by driving Parnell to the cover boundary in the 19th over.
He needed a further 48 balls to reach triple figures, emphatically reaching the milestone by imperiously smashing Morris back overhead for the last of his four sixes.
Pollard, meanwhile, provided great support in a knock marked by good judgement. He managed only two runs from his first ten balls but then exploded with a six and a four off Morkel in the 15th over which cost 15 runs before belting Morris for three successive boundaries in the next over which leaked 14 runs.
He reached his ninth ODI fifty in the 29th over and celebrated in the same over with a six and a four off left-arm spinner JP Duminy.
The partnership was broken when Pollard picked out Faf du Plessis at long on off Morkel in the 30th over and Bravo added a further 33 with Holder for the sixth wicket before skying Morris to du Plessis at mid-on in the 37th over.
Holder then crunched three fours and two sixes and Brathwaite, two fours and a six, as they sustained the momentum with a 54-run stand for the seventh wicket.
Chasing a challenging total, the Proteas were never allowed to settle as Gabriel, in only his second One-Day International, knocked over Quinton de Kock (6), du Plessis (3) and captain AB de Villiers (2) inside the first eight overs, as the visitors slumped to 28 for three.
De Kock perished in the fourth over to a fine catch at the wicket by Ramdin, du Plessis was beaten for pace and lbw in the seventh over while de Villiers nicked a drive behind in the eighth over.
The Proteas were in deeper trouble at 35 for four when Narine trapped the dangerous opener Hashim Amla lbw for 16, and Duminy’s demise, taken at gully by Sulieman Benn off pacer Holder for five in the 15th over, left the innings in ruins at 51 for five.
The next four wickets fell for 83 runs before Morkel and Imran Tahir combined to delay the inevitable.