Gayle, nearly certainly playing in his final World Cup match at the age of 39, trapped Afghanistan top-scorer Ikram Alikhil lbw for 86 in the 36th over to put a huge dent in their slim hopes of victory.
The total should have assured them of a straightforward win against the World Cup debutants with eight chastening defeats in as many matches but instead, West Indies were forced to sweat before finally overpowering the plucky Afghans for 288 all out off their 50 overs.
And while that bodes well for the future, Gulbadin admitted disappointment with their display against the West Indies, in their ninth and final match of the tournament at Headingley. Afghanistan was not able to open their account in this World Cup as they lost every single match they played.
"There is disappointment in the changing rooms at not making the final four but we're thankful for the good performances", said Brathwaite, who returned with a four-wicket haul at Headingley.
Teenager Ikram Alikhil has set his sights on becoming Afghanistan's greatest-ever player after breaking Sachin Tendulkar's record for the highest score by an 18-year-old at a World Cup.
Afghanistan are to head home with more experience under the belts, but with major questions over their batting strength and lack of quality seam bowlers.
West Indies could have been in bigger trouble but Rashid Khan dropped a sitter at mid-wicket off Zadran when Hope was on five.
"As a team, we need to regroup", Brathwaite, who almost pulled off a trilling victory against New Zealand with a spectacular century, told reporters.
"It is my last World Cup....unless they give me two years of rest and I come back (laughs). If you play with a big heart, any position will suit you", said Naib.
Afghanistan remained ahead of the run-rate but started to lose momentum when Ikram failed to overturn an lbw decision after he attempted to sweep Gayle (1-28). "Playing each game in this format you obviously have to be the better team on the day to progress in the tournament", Hope said. "If you muck up you are basically out of the tournament", Hope stated.
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