Rod Harrington says Raymond van Barneveld may need to cope with 'gamesmanship' from Phil Taylor
Rod Harrington wonders if Phil Taylor is winning the mind games with Raymond van Barneveld.
Last Updated: 28/12/12 11:48pm
The Dutchman hasn't beaten his long-time rival on television since 2008, but declared he wanted to face him in the last four - and got his wish as The Power thrashed Andy Hamilton 5-0 in their quarter-final clash.
Van Barneveld, who has recorded the highest average of the tournament so far, insisted he doesn't fear the 15-time world champion any more - but Taylor responded by saying that if he mentioned the word 'fear' then he must be feeling it.
And while Sky Sports expert Harrington expects a great last-four clash, he suspects Taylor will win the pre-game psychological battle.
He said: "If I was Phil I'd be thinking 'if you didn't mention it then it doesn't matter, but you mentioned it so you've got it in your head.'
"Phil maybe in the practice room late on Sunday afternoon will be saying 'so you don't fear me then Barney?' He'll be putting in a little bit of gamesmanship and Phil's very good at that.
"But Sunday is going to be an incredible game. Barney's saying he's not scared of Phil any more, he's at the top of his game and he's confident in his own game. Then you heard what Phil said: 'He's going to be scared of me come Sunday, you can believe that.'
"It was a good performance against Hamilton. What I liked about Phil tonight was that he was back to his old self in a lot of the legs; when Hamilton hit a 180 then Phil hit a 91.
"That's what Phil's so good at; punishing his opponent and wearing them down. That's what he did to Hamilton, who missed a few doubles and Phil punished him for it. That's what Barney has got to be careful of; especially in the first couple of sets."
Fellow Sky Sports pundit Wayne Mardle agrees that Van Barneveld will need a strong start if he is to end his long drought against The Power on Sunday night.
Taylor has thrashed in-form players such as Robert Thornton en route to the semi-finals and Mardle says he has an ability to unsettle his opponents.
He said: "Barney's cool, calm and collected. Phil alluded to the fact that in the practice room that it's how he comes across.
"But it's all different against Taylor. Robert Thornton was playing the darts of his life, but he plays Phil Taylor up there and he folds. Andy Hamilton missed doubles which he hasn't been missing.
"Phil Taylor makes you miss, he really does, and when he plays well it's not that he's unbeatable, but you think he's unbeatable. You're thinking how you can get in front of this man, how do I take the game to him?
"Barney has to lead Phil Taylor in my opinion; otherwise Phil will run into the sunset."