Resistance from Baluchistan did not last long on the final day of the Pentangular Cup final at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. They began the fifth day needing 38 to beat NWFP, but the tenth-wicket pair of Azharullah and Zulfiqar Babar - who had added 17 runs on the fourth day - could manage only nine more.
Umar Gul, the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) captain, struck a timely blow to seal the title. He bowled Azharullah for 5, his first wicket in Baluchistan's second innings. Babar was left stranded on 21. It ended a tense, low-scoring final and denied Baluchistan a remarkable win: the province has historically been the weakest in terms of cricket talent in Pakistan and this side was made up of a number of guest players invited from around the country, including captain Misbah-ul-Haq, from Punjab.
NWFP, who began the final as favourites, won all five games on the way to their first Pentangular title (the tournament has only been contested exclusively by provinces since 2005-06). They were comfortably the most stable side through the tournament, brushing aside the heavily-favoured Sind and Punjab, two provinces which have provided historically the bulk of the national team.
Baluchistan's Saeed Bin Nasir - originally from Sind - brought some cheer, finishing leading run-scorer in the tournament, with 419 at an average of 52.37, closely followed by NWFP's Adnan Raees. NWFP medium-pacers Shakeel-ur-Rehman and Junaid Khan - with the odd Gul cameo - were crucial to their side's success and the highest wicket-takers, taking 55 wickets between them.
The Pentangular ODI cup is due to begin from December 15, with the bulk of the tournament to be played in Karachi.