The Imperial Lions needed just seven deliveries on the third morning to sew up victory by 11 runs over the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in their opening match of the 2019/20 4-Day Domestic Series in Potchefstroom on Wednesday.

Malusi Siboto claimed the final wicket to finish with remarkable figures of five for 15 in 12.1 overs, five of which were maidens, at Senwes Park.

It meant the defending champions started the competition with a bang in what turned out to be a bizarre clash against last season’s runners-up.

Eighteen wickets fell on the opening day on Monday, followed by 21 on day two as the hosts were first bowled out for what proved to be a match-winning 215, before shooting out the visitors for 129 on Tuesday.

The Lions subsequently scored the lowest score of the game – 119 – and the Cobras then reached the halfway stage of the match on 191 for nine in pursuit of 206.

They needed 15 more on what proved to be the final morning with Aviwe Mgijima set on 23, but the Cape side also knew they were one wicket away from defeat.

They managed three singles in the first over sent down by Bjorn Fortuin (2/48), one of the runs scored by Tladi Bokako (1), but Siboto then struck with his first ball by bowling Mgijima for 25 to end the game and hand the home side a positive start in defence of their title.

Lions batsman Kagiso Rapulana was named Man of the Match.