They couldn't emulate the feat of the previous round but Central Districts Stags seamer Bevan Small took immense pleasure in subjecting English international Ben Stokes to Groundhog Day yesterday.

Mindful it wasn't about him but a team game, Small said he enjoyed taking the scalps of Stokes in consecutive Burger King Super Smash Twenty20 games.

"I'll be running around with him in both my pockets now," the 25-year-old Manawatu cricketer said last night after they lost by 17 runs in the round three match against the Canterbury Kings in Rangiora.

Small said Stokes "didn't turn up" at Mainpower Oval yesterday and looked "very scratchy" in his 23 runs, caught Joshua Clarkson.

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"He couldn't really buy anything so I just bowled him a nice off cutter and it hit him on the stickers and went straight down the throat of long-on so I gave him a really good send off and that was that.

"At Nelson, it was pretty much the same thing. I just ran the fingers down the ball and he mistimed it down to long on, so he went the same way in both games and it all went to the plan," he said of the game at Saxton Oval, which the Heinrich Malan-coached CD won by eight runs last Sunday.

On a jovial note, Small said when England play the Black Caps it would be nice to receive a call up from New Zealand coach Mike Hesson.

"Hopefully he's got my number. I'll be waiting by the phone."

On a serious vein, Small said the one-win, two-loss result wasn't ideal but the Stags weren't reaching for the panic button just yet because they were brimming with confidence and playing good cricket.

"It's very disappointing, very disappointing. We were bracing ourselves for a victory but it didn't work out that way," he said.

Small said the bowlers did a good job on a flat deck and were happy with how the Stags had restricted the Cantabrians to 174/5 in their allotted 20 overs after the hosts won the toss and elected to pad up.

Promoted opening seamer Blair Tickner was the pick of the bowlers with 2-21 from four overs and also the most frugal.

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Small, former Canterbury player Ryan McCone and part-time spinner Tom Bruce claimed a scalp each.

Only CJ Bowes got away with 82 from 55 balls, including 10 boundaries and a six, at first drop although wicketkeeper Cameron Fletcher again looked ominous with an unbeaten 43 runs from 24 balls, including three sixes.

Opening swing merchant Seth Rance, of Wairarapa, got a call up from the Black Caps to replace fellow CD strike bowler Adam Milne on Thursday before today's Black Caps v West Indies second ODI. Doug Bracewell also had a man-of-the-match performance in the opening ODI win.

"We had the odd bad delivery but you're going to get that in T20 cricket, I suppose," he said.

Bowes, he said, didn't have such a great knock but quite often got lucky.

"He edged everything and got 50 to 60 per cent of his runs that way so it was a pretty poor innings to watch, really, but that's the way the cookie crumbles."

Small said the mood in the CD camp was one of optimism but things didn't pan out that way.

With Jesse Ryder shifting houses from Wellington to Napier this week, wicketkeeper Dane Cleaver got the opening batsman's job with 30 runs from 24 balls, including two fours and as many sixes.

Small was unbeaten on 20 at No 8 from 15 balls although Christian Leopard made 20 from 18 balls on debut at No 6 although it wasn't certain if he would be released to play for CD Under-21 against Afghanistan at Nelson Park, Napier, in a World Cup warm-up match today.

"The injuries that have plagued me in the past few seasons are behind me so I've only got a little bruised heel at the moment. It's a little niggly but I can play through it," said Small who is looking forward to some time with girlfriend Sophie Shaw at Christmas before the team assembles for the round four game against Northern Districts Knights at Mt Maunganui on Wednesday.

It's uncertain if he hd switched back to his jocular mood but claimed he had had a word with Malan and Young to bat higher up the order.

"I'm trying to work on all aspects of my game but, hopefully, I'll get a crack up the order some day," he said, not shy to open if approached after feedback that CD were exploring options.

Young, he said, was working on becoming better coin tosser.