Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld kept their World Cup dreams alive as they defeated Australia’s pairing of Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson in arguably the best match in the tournament’s history, in Frankfurt on Sunday afternoon.
Van Gerwen defeated Simon Whitlock 4-1 to give Netherlands a 1-0 advantage. Whitlock won the opening leg on D10, but MvG responded with a spectacular 132 finish, which included two bullseyes, followed by D16. Van Gerwen then broke Whitlock’s throw with a clinical 100 finish, before completing the victory with a 98.49 average.
However, Kyle Anderson showed tremendous character as he defeated Raymond van Barneveld 4-3 in a pulsating encounter. Anderson led 3-1, but Van Barneveld stayed alive with a fine 116 checkout. Barney then broke Kyle’s throw with a fabulous 11-darter, but Anderson stole victory after RvB missed five match darts in the decider.
However, the Dutch began the decisive doubles-decider superbly. Van Gerwen opened up with a maximum, and Barney posted a 140, before hitting D16 for a 12-dart break of throw. Nevertheless, Australia responded emphatically, with Whitlock completing a 13-darter after Anderson registered his first maximum of the contest.
‘The Original’ was in inspired form and gave the Aussies a precious 2-1 advantage after pinning his solitary dart at tops for a 65 checkout, but Van Gerwen restored parity by hitting D20 after Van Barneveld hit a timely maximum.
Barney displayed tremendous resolve to bounce back from the disappointment of missing match-darts in his singles encounter, and the five-time world champion hit another 180, before MvG posted D6 to move the Netherlands to within a leg of victory.
Van Gerwen and Van Barneveld kicked off the sixth leg with a 134 and 140 respectively, but they were put under intense pressure as Whitlock and Anderson both hit maximums to set up a 9-dart possibility. ‘The Wizard’ hit the Aussies’ seventh successive T20 of the leg, but the 9-darter was not forthcoming on this occasion.
Anderson required D20 after just 9 darts, but after hitting a single five with his first dart, he regained his composure to sink D16 and send this thrilling tie into a last-leg decider. The Australian pair had the advantage of throw, but the roles were reversed as MvG and Barney both hit maximums, as the Dutch threatened an unprecedented doubles 9-darter.
Van Gerwen was unable to produce the 9-dart finish, but Van Barneveld sealed Netherlands’ progression to the semi-finals with a clinical two-dart 76 outshot, sparking jubilant scenes of relief and joy from the Dutch darting geniuses. It was a thrilling contest, and all four players deserve immense credit for their wonderful performances.
Netherlands will face 2013 finalists Belgium in the semi-finals, after Kim and Ronny Huybrechts overcome second seeds Scotland. Kim Huybrechts gave Belgium the early advantage, after claiming a fine 4-2 victory over world champion Gary Anderson. Both men averaged around 96, but Kim was stronger in the latter stages of legs.
Nevertheless, World Grand-Prix champion Robert Thornton kept Scotland’s hopes of winning a maiden World Cup crown alive, with a comfortable 4-1 victory against Ronny Huybrechts. Thornton landed three maximums in the opening three legs, and after Ronny opened his account in leg four, Thornton nailed D2 to force a doubles-decider.
In the all-important doubles clash, Anderson kicked off proceedings with a maximum, but Kim Huybrechts hit D14 to give Belgium the early lead. The Huybrechts brothers extended their cushion moments later, after both Thornton and Anderson spurned three darts at double apiece.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ converted D20 for a 54 finish, but he missed two darts at tops to level up proceedings, as Kim hit the same target to move 3-1 ahead. Thornton followed up Anderson’s third maximum with a quality 81 finish for an 11-dart break, but Kim sealed a memorable triumph for Belgium by following up a 177 with a commanding 14-darter.
Elsewhere, defending champions England breezed into the semi-finals with a convincing 2-0 win against Austria. Phil Taylor averaged over 100 in whitewashing Mensur Suljovic 4-0, whilst Adrian Lewis defeated Rowby-John Rodriguez 4-1 in a high-quality affair, which saw both men average over 102.
England’s bid for a fourth World Cup title will continue tonight as they face fourth seeds Northern Ireland in the semi-finals, after they overcame Canada in a doubles-decider. Three-time world champion John Part edged past Brendan Dolan 4-3 in an attritional battle, but Daryl Gurney forced a doubles-decider by whitewashing Ken MacNeil.
Northern Ireland had the momentum and that continued into the doubles encounter. Part kicked off with a maximum, but Dolan hit D16 to claim the opener in 13 darts, before ‘Darth Maple’ levelled up the contest with a superb 68 checkout. However, Northern Ireland won three legs on the spin to secure a place in their second World Cup semi-final.
Betway World Cup of Darts
Sunday June 5
Quarter-Finals Order of Play
Canada 1-2 Northern Ireland
England 2-0 Austria
Scotland 1-2 Belgium
Australia 1-2 Netherlands
Evening Session (8pm local time)
England v Northern Ireland
Belgium v Netherlands
England/Northern Ireland v Belgium/Netherlands