They are young but, ironically, that's when not just the Central Districts Hinds but every other team will agree good cricketing habits are instilled in players.

A rash of mis-fields and deliveries on two sides and lengths of the wicket saw the Hinds succumb to a 72-run defeat at the hands of Otago Sparks in Napier on Thursday afternoon.

While it was a daunting task for the hosts to chase down the 3-181 in the Super Smash Twenty20 affair at McLean Park, there were lessons for CD batsmen Emily Cunningham and White Fern Hannah Rowe, too.

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That is, even if it's a T20 slog fest, throwing one's willow at a change bowler on the first delivery or trying to heave the smallest player into orbit isn't always the best prescription as CD were skittled for 109 with four balls to spare.

Otago Sparks teenager Eden Carson was equally committed to fielding on the short boundaries square of the wicket at McLean Park, Napier, on Thursday. Photo / Photosport
Otago Sparks teenager Eden Carson was equally committed to fielding on the short boundaries square of the wicket at McLean Park, Napier, on Thursday. Photo / Photosport

Again, ironically, it was schoolgirl spinner Eden Carson, at second change, who stole the thunder with a five-wicket bag (5-18).

Carson, of St Hilda's Collegiate in Dunedin, didn't let the occasion get to her when handed the ball before carving up the heart of the predominantly middle-order batsmen, including No 4 Anlo van Deventer (top CD score of 23 runs), Rowe, Rosemary Mair, Mikaela Greig and Melissa Hansen. It was her career-best T20 figures, eclipsing 2-26.

"The team had my back so it's just good to be out there bowling for the Sparks and everything," said the 18-year-old with an impish grin not long after Amanda-Jade Wellington, of Adelaide Strikers, presented her the ball which she dutifully tried to hand to an umpire before informed it was for her to keep and savour with the game changer award.

Carson, who also fielded on the ropes with a strong arm and a meaningful sense of anticipation, told former international Emily Drumm Otago was upbeat about making the playoffs. She gave a thumbs up to an environment alongside former New Zealand skipper Suzie Bates and Sparks captain Katey Martin.

CD co-skipper Rowe echoed similar sentiments of making playoffs despite the one-sided serving.

"Overall, I think we just had pretty poor fielding and bowling," said the 23-year-old contracted player from Manawatu who felt they had started well with the bat with promising partnerships but didn't retaliate well enough.

The pace bowler, who took 3-36 after a loose start but came back with purpose with choice variations in deliveries, felt they had let the Sparks run away with the total.

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"They [Otago] fielded better and bowled to their field so we could all learn from the way they played," said Rowe whose Jamie Watkins-coached side registered no wins last summer in the format but have three this season.

"We can still make that elimination final," she said as the Hinds face second-placed Hearts at Eden Park outer oval on Saturday. "We just have to focus on the couple of games to make sure we put ourselves in the best position we can."

CD Hinds seamer Hannah Rowe celebrates taking the scalp of Otago batswoman Suzie Bates (not in the frame) as fellow opener Millie Rose Cowan confirms the death rattle. Photo / Paul Taylor
CD Hinds seamer Hannah Rowe celebrates taking the scalp of Otago batswoman Suzie Bates (not in the frame) as fellow opener Millie Rose Cowan confirms the death rattle. Photo / Paul Taylor

Mair, who should never have been wired for the TV commentary team, started well with six runs in tandem with co-skipper Jess Watkin but then lost her way.

After ace batsman Bate's departure for 31 (20 balls), the Hinds let the Sparks off the hook with wicketkeeper Natalie Dodd (fumbled a nick) and Mair (misjudged a catch at long on to gift a six) extending Millie Rose Cowan and Hayley Jensen's life on the batting crease.

It wasn't until 16.3 overs that Rowe struck again as Jensen got too adventurous with a lap shot but that didn't stop Otago from posting a bolshy total.

Opener Cowan carried her bat for a sedate 50 from 49 balls to fulfil her role with aplomb in anchoring the visitors' innings although she did take her chances, especially during power play.

Fellow opener Bates was in sublime form and, now — with Otago as the most likely side to claim the elimination playoff spot against the Auckland Hearts — top qualifers Wellington Blaze will want her scalp early when the time is nigh.

At first drop, White Fern Jensen claimed match-high 55 runs from 38 deliveries — eclipsing her previous best of 37 — with Martin and Wellington joining the party with 17 and 19, respectively.

Opener Watkin, after a milestone half century for the major association side in the previous round, holed out for five runs to Sydney Thunder import Hannah Carlington from a Jensen ball to quash any thoughts of adding another fairy-tale chapter to their summer.

Only Natalie Dodd, who hit down the throat of a sun-baked Cowan from a Wellington delivery while trying to up the tempo, showed how playing educated cricket shots can help establish a fighting total.

CD Hinds Natalie Dodd, at first drop, shows her batting prowess in a lost cause at McLean Park, Napier, on Thursday. Photo / Photosport
CD Hinds Natalie Dodd, at first drop, shows her batting prowess in a lost cause at McLean Park, Napier, on Thursday. Photo / Photosport

Wicket-less medium pacer Claudia Green, at second change, was the most frugal at 6.25 an over while Watkin went at seven an over.

Hansen, at third change, was the only other player to remain below 10 an over, at nine, as CD employed seven bowlers on a typically bouncy, drop-in pitch.

Otago opted for six bowlers with Darlington going at 1.71 an over from 2.2 overs compared with Carson's 4.5.

Significantly Wellington's 2-20 and Jensen's 1-22 arrested the Hinds' thoughts, never mind endeavour.