Nitin Kumar returns for a second Ally Pally visit as he takes on Brendan Dolan in the 2020 World Championship.

This is the latest in our set of 32 first round match previews for this year’s World Championship. Yesterday, we took a look at Ross Smith against Ciaran Teehan. For the full tournament schedule, click here.

Facts and figures

Match time/date: 14:30, December 15

Head-to-head record: First meeting

Previous meeting: N/A

Best major performance this season: Last 32, Players Championship Finals (Dolan); N/A (Kumar)

Previous PDC World Championship appearances: Dolan 11, Kumar 1

Best PDC World Championship performance: Quarter-Finals 2019 (Dolan); Last 96, 2019 (Kumar)

PDC Asia

Photo: PDC Asia

Preview

It’s good to see Nitin Kumar back at the Ally Pally. A year ago, an Indian qualifier was introduced for the World Championship, and Kumar came out on top. Fast-forward a year and the rangy New Delhi-born thrower was at it again, throwing in a 93 average in his semi-final. It seems that the 34-year-old will continue to be the leading light for one of the world’s biggest nations. Hopefully, his turn in the spotlight will amplify darts’ promise in the region.

Last year, he recovered well from a nervy first set to give Jeffrey de Zwaan something to thing about. The second set almost went Kumar’s way but in the end, the talented Dutchman had too much in his arsenal. With that experience behind him, and an extra year of build-up, perhaps we’ll see a new Nitin in London this time around.

As an aside, here’s a line from Nitin Kumar’s Wikipedia entry: “He was named ‘Bauaa’ in 2017 by his friend Deepak Padhan. He likes to sleep so much & had a horny attitude.” Alright then. Cheers, Deepak.

If he’s awake for it, Kumar plays one of last year’s quarter-finalists. Last year, it was almost as if Brendan Dolan’s “History Maker” tag was his own personal albatross. With the Northern Irishman struggling, there was a worry that he’d be consigned to the history books entirely. The World Championship changed all of that.

Yuanjun Liu, Joe Cullen, Mervyn King and Benito van de Pas were all thoroughly Dolanised, before Nathan Aspinall prevailed in the last eight. Since then, the 46-year-old has secured an emotional Players Championship win in Germany, followed up by another floor success in the slightly less glamorous Barnsley. Majors haven’t been as fruitful, yet as a whole Dolan looks full of life and ready to get back to his best. Perhaps the World Championship is the place to do just that.

Should he dispatch Kumar, Gary Anderson lies in wait for Dolan.

Prediction

Brendan Dolan 3-0 Nitin Kumar. It’s likely that Kumar will perform better than last year, and that will mean Dolan has to be at his sharpest. Yet it feels like he will be. Dolan’s 2019 form deserves a good run here and, while that might not mean a repeat of last year, we’re backing him to start in style.

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

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Author: Ed McCosh