Chris Gayle of the Jozi Stars speaks to the media after their Mzansi Super League match against the Tshwane Spartans at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Chris Gayle launched an astonishing attack on the Jozi Stars, saying the franchise and players needed to take a look at themselves after they suffered their sixth straight defeat in the Mzansi Super League on Sunday.

The defending champions suffered a horrible meltdown after Gayle had given them the perfect start in pursuit of the Tshwane Spartans’ target of 156. Gayle scored 54 off 27 balls, but the rest of the Stars’ batting order fell apart as they lost eight wickets for 22 runs in 35 balls at a stunned ‘Bullring.’ They were bowled out for 135 in the penultimate over, suffering a 20-run defeat.

“We got 60 runs in the power play and then all hell broke loose after that,” said Gayle, who played his last match in this year’s MSL and possibly his last match in South Africa.

“I don’t know exactly what transpired. This is not the kind of cricket this franchise is known to play, I don’t know what the thought processes were. It was bad to watch. Everyone will be hurt. I am hurt.”

Gayle said he wasn’t meant to play in this year’s MSL, but ultimately chose to do so because he enjoyed the spirit in the Stars camp last year. This year however it has been the exact opposite and Gayle said he was tired of always blamed when things go wrong. 

Coming into Sunday’s match he’d scored just 47 runs in five innings and was widely criticised for the Stars’ winless start in the competition.

“Let me make this clear, there is always pressure, and when I don’t perform for two or three games, then it's ‘Chris Gayle is the burden for the team.’ I’m not talking about this team only. This is something I’ve analysed over the years playing franchise cricket. ‘Chris Gayle is a burden,’ and when I don’t score runs two, three, four times, however amount of times, it seems that one particular individual is the burden for the team. And then you come to realise, you hear bickering, I’m not going to get respect, and so people don’t remember what you’ve done for them, and I’m not talking about this franchise only,” said the self-anointed Universe Boss.

“This is not how champions play to defend a title,” he said after Sunday’s defeat.

“I don’t know if it is an off the field problem, but individuals and the franchise itself needs to look at themselves and dig deep, with what is happening. This is not the type of cricket , the brand of cricket - even when I think back to my years with the Lions here - that we have played. Something is wrong, I don’t know what it is, but we need to find out.”

The Stars’ face the Paarl Rocks next Sunday. Gayle will be replaced by Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik for the remainder of the tournament.

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