Who can unplug the Power in the Premier League?
Four players are only two matches away from Premier League glory, but of the lot, it is Phil Taylor who is the man to stop.
The Power has lifted the Premier League trophy five times since it was created in 2005, and just who can deny him surging his way to a sixth triumph?
The responsibility weighs heavily on the shoulders of his semi-final opponent James Wade, himself no stranger to the big stage.
Back in 2009 Wade became Premier League champion, and in 2010 was beaten in the final 10-8 by the Power in one of the greatest matches of all-time, with Taylor’s history-making two nine darters eventually being the difference.
That was the last time Taylor was champion in the Premier League, and having been the first player to seal his place at finals night at London’s O2 Arena, he has been waiting for this night to come. However, he’ll be wary of what happened this time 12 months ago.
Lining up against world champion Adrian Lewis, Taylor simply didn’t turn up, and was comprehensively beaten by his protégé. It was the start of Taylor’s fall, but in the summer of 2011 he resurrected his career and went on to finish the year with five trophies.
Taylor is yet to win a major this year having bowed out of the world championship at the Alexandra Palace in the second round, surprisingly being humbled by Dave Chisnall.
He has certainly bounced back in the Premier League and has been lighting up the oche every time he has played.
The Power set a new record average in the competition with a 117.35, threw another nine darter, and only lost one match. The group phase is done, and now the 15-time champion of the world will be preparing for a semi-final showdown with Wade.
Unlike Taylor, Wade’s route to the play-offs was nervy, tense, and full of drama.
Only needing a point to secure his place, Wade was involved in a straight shootout with Raymond van Barneveld, and when he was 6-4 up and one leg away from reaching his target, it all went wrong for the Machine.
Five-time world champion Barney hit back to win three legs on the spin and go 7-6 in front, and heading into a final leg all hinged on who could get to the double first from 501. It was Wade who took it and got the point he required, putting an end to Barney’s challenge who needed the win.
Wade has won seven major titles, but of the six he has won on television, he has never faced Taylor, leading some to say the hard part has already been done for him with Taylor losing and the pathway being cleared.
If Wade wants to win the Premier League once again, then he’ll have to be at his very best to topple Taylor, otherwise if he isn’t, then it could be a repeat of their week 13 clash, where Taylor won 8-1 and almost broke the world record of 118.66.
The other semi-final will be fiercely contested by Simon Whitlock and Andy Hamilton, and there is plenty of history in this encounter.
Hamilton has the mental edge over most players on the darts circuit, but especially over Whitlock.
Cast your minds back to the World Matchplay of 2011. Whitlock was a leg away from the semis and was leading 15-8. However, Hamilton produced the comebacks of all comebacks and won 17-15.
It was a defeat that scarred Whitlock for some time, and to make matters worse, he then lost again to the same opponent in the world championship semis in January, having been 5-3 up in sets in the race to six.
Hamilton has defied the odds as the Premier League debutant. Backed to be one of the basement boys along with Kevin Painter in the league, instead it is Hamilton who from being bottom after six weeks competing for a place in the final and the £150,000 first prize and the trophy.
Whitlock has been superb in the Premier League and finished second to Taylor, and was the second player to join the Power. Now, he has to overcome his nemesis if he wants to reach the final for the first time.
But the one they will all need to overcome is the Power, Phil Taylor.
İsmail Vedat- Follow me on twitter
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