Saturday evening of the PDC World Cup of Darts 2019 begs one big question; can the big seeds keep up their form to reach the quarter-finals?
Seeds one, four, five and eight take to the Hamburg stage for the second round on Saturday evening. That includes the only two previous winners of the PDC World Cup of Darts. The singles element does tend to favour the bigger sides, with their star names. But the depth of quality now is such that even the underdogs boast a top player or two. Don’t think of these ties as a foregone conclusion.
18:00 Australia vs Canada
The main surprise of round one was that Italy are…good? Nobody saw it coming. It’s testament to Canada that they saw off the unexpected Italian barrage to make it through. Jim Long in particular dug in with some crucial darts. They’ll need to up their game again to stand a chance against Australia. Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson seems like a cursed partnership. It’s two of the most brilliant, yet most frustrating, players in the world – together. Finland almost sent them home early, but now they get a crack at Long and Dawson Murschell in the singles. The Aussies should cruise. But that would be most un-Australian of them. Since the format changed to its current state, they’ve only avoided a second round doubles decider once – against Gibraltar.
19:00 Austria vs USA
USA! USA! There was plenty of cheer for the Americans as they ruthlessly swept aside China in round one. They might have watched Austria grind out a nervy win over Russia and dreamt of the quarter-finals. But an underperforming Austrian pair averaged 13.66 points more than their cross-Atlantic counterparts. Mensur Suljovic will be the favourite whether he plays Chuck Puleo or Darin Young. Zoran Lerchbacher was heavily inconsistent against Russia – who really should have won – and is the Europeans’ weak link.
You can keep up with all the live scores and stats from the PDC World Cup of Darts 2019, right here.
20:00 England vs Republic of Ireland
So far, so good for England. Rob Cross and Michael Smith have gelled well, which is a positive sign. They won’t fear the Republic of Ireland, nor prospective quarter-final opponents Austria or the USA. Let’s dial back a bit though, because they’re playing an in-form Irish side next. William O’Connor secured himself a PDC Pro Tour title and nailed a nine-darter in the immediate build-up to this tournament, don’t forget. Steve Lennon has big stage experience, and it means that if Cross or Smith doesn’t turn up, the other will need to do a bailout job to avoid a nasty surprise.
21:00 Netherlands vs Poland
Raymond van Barneveld? Who’s Raymond van Barneveld?
The Netherlands have lost half of a team which has dominated this tournament, and they haven’t missed a beat. Michael van Gerwen was his usual dominant self against a lacklustre Spain; Jermaine Wattimena was the perfect foil. Both are strong singles players and could wrap this up quickly. Poland’s main hope is Krzysztof Ratajki, but Tytus Kanik played his part in an easy win over the Czech Republic. There are no weak links here; it could be a genuine battle. Though when Mighty Mike’s about, it’s hard to bet the other way.
Saturday evening schedule
Australia v Canada
Austria v USA
England v Ireland
Netherlands v Poland
Author: Ed McCosh