Drama, excitement, bust ups, close matches, great performances and two nine-dart finishes: Taylor versus Van Gerwen is a fitting end to a thrilling World Championship
17:08 GMT, 31 December 2012
Is there any better way to end a World Championship that has had everything
The 15-time world champion and King of the oche Phil Taylor takes on the red hot Dutch star Michael van Gerwen in one of the most eagerly awaited contests in the tournament’s 20-year history.
‘Mighty Mike’ has lit up Alexandra Palace over the festive period and he has all the attributes needed to topple ‘The Power’ and win his maiden world title.
Van Gerwen produced a champion’s performance to beat two-time winner Adrian Lewis 5-4 in a stunning quarter-final and then, almost unthinkably, played even better against James Wade in the semis. Had MVG pulled off two nine-dart finishes in a row, it surely would have ranked as the greatest moment in darts history.
Mighty Mike: Van Gerwen has produced outstanding form this year at Ally Pally
It has been a year to remember for the Dutchman, after his win at the World Grand Prix and final at the Grand Slam, and a win over Taylor on Tuesday night could almost be a changing of the guard for the sport.
If he plays like he did against Lewis, Van Gerwen will almost certainly be the new world champion.
Taylor said: ‘Michael’s talent is the best I’ve ever seen, even better than me at my peak. I’ve been studying Michael’s game and he doesn’t even seem to look at his target. I’m going to do everything on the dart board I can to beat him.’
But the pressure of a World Championship final could get to the young pretender and, if it does, the last man you would want to face is Taylor.
The Power: Taylor is going for his 16th world title
‘The Power’ hasn’t been at his best at Ally Pally this year but still finds himself in the final. He has negotiated a tricky draw with relative ease, beating Robert Thornton, Andy Hamilton and Raymond van Barneveld.
The bookmakers were right in ranking these two as the favourites but Taylor knows he needs to up his game to stop ‘Mighty Mike’ winning his first world title.
An interesting sub-plot will be the reaction Phil Taylor gets from the crowd after his spat with Barney after the semis.
The 2013 World Championship has had drama, excitement, close matches, sizzling performances and two-nine dart finishes. Let’s hope the final will be the conclusion a brilliant tournament deserves.
Five memorable moments from Ally Pally this year
5. John Part angry that his picture isn't on the wall at Alexandra Palace
4. Van Gerwen knocks out reigning champion Adrian Lewis in a quarter-final classic
3. Dean Winstanley's nine-dart finish against Vincent van der Voort
2. Taylor clashes with Van Barneveld after semi-final
1. Van Gerwen's incredible 17 perfect darts in a row