One of their managers has an ACL tear. The same manager calls for sacrificing (non-literally) a black camel to end the curse of their squad. They didn’t have their captain at the start of the tournament, have lost their most expensive, marque pick, and their vice-captain and main death bowler. Any other squad could have easily crumbled and presented this as a reasonable justification. But not Islamabad United.
T20 teams can afford to carry one odd passenger. T20 World Cup winning captains in Younus Khan and Paul Collingwood are excellent examples of this argument. Misbah ul Haq is playing a similar role. The changes brought about in the balance of the squad is quite refreshing. He is playing the conditions not players. Zafar Gohar was brought in the last game because the wicket was supposed to spin. It did spin and how. Yesterday, with the boundaries shorter, and wicket flatter Islamabad were going a bowler short having accommodated Alex Hales in place of his English compatriot Steven Finn. So they replaced Zafar Gohar with Amad Butt. Astute choice it proved to be.
Misbah, has certainly become a little more animated then his previous years. However, having been playing and mastering these conditions Misbah is pulling the strings masterfully. Yesterday, when Pollard was going strong, it looked as if Islamabad had gone with one all-rounder too many. With Butt, missing his lengths, fans would have thought about Ruman Raees. But Sami proved to be the clincher. Credit to Misbah, Waqar Younus and Dean Jones for extracting performances from the likes of Hussain Talat, Faheem Asharaf and Asif Ali. Despite substantial problems, Islamabad United became the 1st team to qualify for the play offs.