Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen battle into Premier League Darts final
By Paul Prenderville at The O2
Last Updated: 22/05/17 6:33pm
Peter Wright ended Phil Taylor's hopes of a fairy-tale Premier League finish with a semi-final victory to set up a showdown with world no 1 Michael van Gerwen.
Six-time Premier League champion Taylor took to the stage at the O2 for the final time having confirmed earlier in the year that this would be his last on tour, and a dramatic clash with world no 3 Wright ensued with The Power missing darts for victory and a repeat of last year's final.
But having battled back from 4-0 and 6-3 down, he was punished by Wright who pinched a Premier League classic in a final-leg shoot-out that sealed a 10-9 victory on his O2 debut and a showdown with MVG, who had earlier beaten Gary Anderson.
Wright capitalised on a slow start from Taylor to cruise into a 4-0 lead, with The Power averaging under 90 and not mustering a dart at a double until the fifth leg of the match.
Having missed a dart at double top for the leg, Taylor was relieved to see Wright miss three of his own at double 12 and the Power returned to take out double top for a second consecutive leg.
Those three missed darts for a 5-1 Wright lead looked crucial when Taylor was poised to draw within one leg but Snakebite produced a brilliant shanghai finish on 120 to open up a 6-3 lead, only to see a battling Taylor strike again to stay within two at the interval.
And The Power reduced the gap to one by breaking on his return, two 180s contributing to a brilliant 12-dart leg before levelling at 6-6 after another missed dart at double top from Wright.
With Taylor pushing his average north of 102, the 16-time world champion was millimetres away from a bullseye for the lead but, with Wright floundering on his doubles, Taylor returned to pin double 8 and lead 7-6.
But with six darts in hand for a two-leg lead, Taylor's level dropped for the first time since the opening exchanges and six darts at a double went begging - allowing Wright to end Taylor's run of four successive legs.
Leading 8-7, Taylor missed darts for a two-leg lead before returning to miss three more and Wright made the most of his opportunity to pin double 8 and level the match at eight legs apiece.
With the match now a three-leg shoot-out, Taylor found double 18 to move within one leg of the match and a ninth final. However, when Snakebite missed a dart at bullseye to level up, Taylor had his first dart for the match - but Wright returned to set up the dramatic decider after Taylor's miss.
In the night's opening semi-final, Van Gerwen and Anderson served up a high quality match which the world no 1 won 10-7 thanks to a pivotal break of throw late on after little between the pair.
The 2013 and 2016 champion struck the crucial breakthrough in the 16th leg of the match and having then moved 10-7 in front, MVG pinned double five to seal his place in the showpiece final for the £250,000 first prize
Anderson had thrown five perfect darts to take the opener against the throw in 12 darts, but MVG went one better claiming the second in just 11 arrows before punished missed darts at double top from the Scot to claim the next two legs.
Anderson levelled the match at 3-3 and did so again at 4-4, punishing two missed darts at double from the world no 1.
Anderson made a mistake of his own, miscounting on a 164 check-out, to allow Van Gerwen to take out the highest finish of the match with a brilliant 112 before Anderson pinned a sensational 160 of his own in the very next leg.
After nine successive holds of throw, Anderson missed a dart at bull to break and when Van Gerwen swooped to take out 74 to keep the match on throw it was the next leg that proved decisive.
A clinical 88 finish in two darts to earned MVG the right to throw for the match, which he duly took before being joined by Wright in the final.
You can see all the action from The World Cup of Darts, live on Sky Sports. The arrows run from 1-4 June.
Who will win the World Cup of Darts? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting @SkySportsDarts or by using the comments box below - sign in with Facebook. Follow us on Twitter & use #LoveTheDarts