Michael van Gerwen dismantled Phil Taylor to win his second Premier League crown on Thursday night at the O2 Arena. ‘The Green Machine’ averaged 104.68 as he thrashed Taylor 11-3 in the final, to scoop the £200,000 winner’s cheque.
Taylor led 2-1, but he was unable to match Van Gerwen’s relentless consistency, with the Dutchman winning ten of the last eleven legs to seal victory. Taylor averaged 98, but could only convert 30% of his attempts at double.
Taylor started strongly however, holding throw in 13-darts on D12. Nevertheless, MvG delivered an instant riposte by virtue of a majestic 121 checkout (Bull, T13, D16).
Michael missed one dart at D19 for a 112 checkout as the 55-year-old regained the initiative with a 51 checkout, but ‘Mighty Mike’ drew level once more on D20. The Dutchman then claimed a precious break of throw with a 60 checkout, before a dramatic sixth leg ensued.
Taylor missed three clear darts at D16 for an instant break-back, and MvG pinned that very double with his last-dart to double his lead. This proved to be a turning point, as Van Gerwen posted a maximum and hit D8 for 5-2, before winning his fifth straight leg via D20.
‘The Power’ stopped the rot with a clinical two-dart 80 finish, but MvG went into the interval with a 7-3 advantage. Taylor posted 134 to leave D20, but he wasn’t afforded an opportunity, as Van Gerwen converted a 100 checkout after hitting single 20 and two double tops.
This ultimately proved to be the decisive blow. Van Gerwen took out 76 to claim a five-leg lead, before surging 9-3 ahead with a fine 13-darter, having kicked off the leg with successive maximums.
Taylor’s resistance was waning, as the six-time Premier League champion missed three darts at double to hold throw. Van Gerwen nailed D10 to move within a leg of victory, and the 27-year-old from Boxtel subsequently pinned D4 to seal a comprehensive win against his arch-rival.
Van Gerwen was thrilled to claim his second Premier League title, telling Sky Sports: “I’m really glad I did the right things at the right moments. I was the best tonight and I wanted to win this back very much. I’m over the moon to win this title. It’s unbelievable. I’m really glad I can hold this trophy for a second time.”
Earlier in the night, the world number one had secured a place in his fourth consecutive Premier League final with an emphatic 10-4 victory over Adrian Lewis in the opening semi-final. MvG averaged 103 and hit five maximums en route to victory, reeling off four consecutive legs after Lewis had earlier reduced the deficit from 6-1 to 6-4.
In the evening’s second semi, Phil Taylor ended Gary Anderson’s Premier League reign with a hard-fought 10-7 triumph. Neither player were at their best, but Anderson was ultimately punished for profligate finishing, having posted a miserly 24% on the doubles.
The pair were locked at four apiece, before ‘The Power’ capitalised on poor finishing from ‘The Flying Scotsman’ to establish a commanding 8-4 cushion. Anderson rallied impressively and reduced the arrears to 8-7, but the 16-time world champion broke throw with a 79 checkout, before sealing victory with a fine 13-darter.
However, Taylor was unable to go that extra mile and claim his first major TV title since the 2014 World Matchplay, as his poor run against MvG continues. Van Gerwen was ruthless in both matches, dropping just seven legs over both matches against Lewis and Taylor.
There were question marks about whether Michael would be psychologically hampered by having lost his last two Premier League finals, against Raymond van Barneveld and Gary Anderson respectively. Yet, he dispelled this concern emphatically, and the most frightening thought is that MvG still appeared to have plenty left in reserve.
Betway Premier League Play-Offs
Thursday May 19
The O2, London
Michael van Gerwen 10-4 Adrian Lewis
Phil Taylor 10-7 Gary Anderson
Best of 19 legs
Michael van Gerwen 11-3 Phil Taylor
Best of 21 legs