Pieter Malan half century as Williams strikes for Titans on Day 1

Lizaad Williams returned to trouble his former franchise with four wickets on debut for the Momentum Multiply Titans as they began the new 4-Day Day Domestic Series strongly against the Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras in Cape Town on Monday. 

The medium-pacer claimed four for 51 in 22 overs to help restrict the hosts to 264 for nine declared at Six Gun Grill Newlands, where Proteas opener Pieter Malan recorded the only half-century of the day with 51 (96 balls, 7 fours).

Another South Africa player Aiden Markram was then removed for two by George Linde late in the day, negating some of the advantage that the visitors had established. 

It ended a gripping first day of the 2020/21 term as cricket returned for the first time since March when Covid-19 struck and left doubts over the season. 

But with some sort of normality slowly returning, there had been plenty of excitement in recent weeks after Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced a return to play. 

And the two sides delivered a see-saw contest to start.

The Cobras won the toss and opted to bat first, with Janneman Malan (17) providing a strong opening foundation of 59 alongside his brother Pieter.

There were also starts for new captain Zubayr Hamza (32) and another new face in Tony de Zorzi (23) as the home side progressed to 123 for two. 

But Williams, Proteas spinner Tabraiz Shamsi (3/80) and another debutant Okuhle Cele (2/45) kept chipping away as the Cobras slipped to 155 for five. 

Kyle Verreynne (39) then lead a recovery through an 80-run sixth-wicket stand alongside Linde (43), before more quick wickets undid the recovery. 

In the end, the hosts opted to declare, leaving them with four overs to bowl to the Titans. That proved a wise move, with Linde (1/1) taking out Markram leaving the game well-poised heading into day two.