Bunting survives Searle fightback to move into World Championship Quarter-Finals in sudden death thriller
Bunting lost a 2-0 lead and went down 2-0 in the final set but some stunning finishing from 'The Bullet' at the right moments saw him through to a tie with Krzysztof Ratajski in his second Quarter-Final in the showpiece tournament.
Bunting started strong breaking Searle’s throw in the opening leg. The latter hit a treble 20 as he looked to force pressure but couldn’t follow that up giving Bunting six darts at 170.
He pinned 87 on the bull to go 2-0 up and towards a 1-0 set lead. Searle pinned his 16th 180 of the tournament and hit double five to get his first leg on the board.
Bunting missed double 16 for a 105 but missed another three for the set allowing Searle back for 85 but a bounceout saw him miss the bull. This allowed Bunting back for a third time to scrape over the line in the opening set.
Searle was set for a potential break but missed bull for a 170 checkout and Bunting punished with a brilliant 110 checkout.
He missed bull for a 132 checkout and Searle hit double 19 to send it all the way. Searle missed the bull again but this time on 87 for a set and Bunting pinned 25 to go 2-0 up.
Searle was backed on the mark with a 180 followed by double 10 for the lead. Both pinned 180’s but Bunting missed double 18 for a 121.
Searle though missed a vital double 10 for a 56 checkout allowing Bunting to pin double 18 last dart in hand. Searle fluffed his lines on a 113 after Bunting had missed bull for an 81 and Bunting headed into the lead at 2-1 as he was one away from a 3-0 lead.
Bunting missed three for the set and Searle pinned double 10 to send it all the way. ‘The Bullet’ smashed in a 180 as he put pressure on Searle.
He rose to it with an 89 checkout on double 16 for a 2-1 sets deficit. He kicked off Bunting’s throw with a 180 but missed 95 for the lead.
Bunting though missed the bull for a 90 checkout and Searle attacked double 19 for the lead. He couldn’t make a dent in 95 to hold and Bunting pinned 70 on double eight to break straight back.
It was a sixth 180 for Searle and a 140 left 81 as he looked to break once more. He missed double six and Bunting was back for 77.
He missed two darts to go 2-1 up though and Searle mopped up double three for a 2-1 lead himself and one away from levelling the match up.
He pinned double 20 despite Bunting hitting two 180’s in a row and claimed a 3-1 sets win to make it 2-2.
Bunting returned with a brilliant start though pinning 50 for an 11-darter to break. He missed two double 19’s for the set but Searle couldn’t keep it alive with three shots to hold.
Bunting took out 19 on double eight from there for the set to go 3-2 up and re establish his lead. Searle continued to fight though with a 100 checkout with two double 20’s pinned.
He followed that up with an 85 checkout to break. A huge moment came though with Bunting down to 47 to break through and go one away with the throw from the Quarter-Finals.
But he missed two at double 16 and Searle again pounced to claim the set. He began the seventh set with a 145 checkout to hold as his revival continued.
He was finding trebles for fun and on Bunting’s throw was on 90 after nine. He pinned it to go one away from the victory. Bunting though out of nowhere hit an 84 checkout and he suddenly had the throw to potentially send it all the way.
A 140 left 41 for Searle and Bunting needed 107 which he pinned to stay in it and send it to sudden death.
A slip with only 55 and a 140 from Bunting left ‘The Bullet’ on six darts for 96. Searle hit 170 to pressure but Bunting pinned double 20 to win through.
2021 PDC World Darts Championship schedule
Wednesday December 30
Afternoon Session (12:00 GMT)
Vincent van der Voort (94.81) 2-4 (93.64) Daryl Gurney (1-3, 3-2, 1-3, 1-3, 3-0, 2-3)
Stephen Bunting (97.81) 4-3 (98.15) Ryan Searle (3-1, 3-2, 2-3, 1-3, 3-0, 1-3, 3-2)
Devon Petersen v Gary Anderson