Set a mammoth 232 to win by the hosts at the Wanderers in Johannesburg today, the talismanic left-hander was the chief destroyer as he led the West Indies to the highest-ever successfully chased total in T20 International history.
Gayle shared in the highest-ever partnership for the West Indies in the format with Marlon Samuels (60 runs from 39 balls) as the pair put on 152 for the second wicket from just 72 balls to systematically knock off the runs.
Although the visitors lost five wickets for 38 runs coming home, the efforts of Gayle and Samuels were enough to see their side win with four balls remaining.
In the South African innings, captain Faf du Plessis smashed the highest-ever score by a South African in a T20 International with 119 from 56 balls to lead his side to 231 for seven.
Du Plessis shared in an explosive 105 run partnership with David Miller for the third wicket as the Proteas bludgeoned the West Indies attack.
Miller was run out, three short of his half-century from 26 balls by Andre Russell, as the West Indies claimed South Africa’s third wicket for 126.
Du Plessis continued after Miller’s departure, as he brought up his ton off just 46 balls. He was eventually out in the penultimate over of the innings, after smashing 11 fours and five sixes.
South Africa lost their first wicket in the opening over. Morné Van Wyk hit the second ball he faced through the covers for four, but followed up by finding Kieron Pollard at point off the bowling of Sulieman Benn.
Rilee Rossouw was next to depart after scoring 15 as South Africa lost their second wicket on 21.
The left-hander attempted to pull a short ball outside off but got an edge through to keeper Denesh Ramdin off the bowling of Jason Holder.
It was then the turn of Du Plessis and Miller to help the hosts surge to a total well beyond the 200 mark, and their second highest total in T20 Internationals.