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Raymond van Barneveld v Michael Smith Live Stream World Matchplay Preview

Can Barney transfer his rampant Tour form onto the big stage tonight? (credit: Lawrence Lustig/ PDC)
A rejuvenated Raymond van Barneveld begins his World Matchplay campaign looking to avoid a potential scalp as he faces rising star Michael Smith in the final match of the opening night.

Watch and bet on van Barneveld v Smith live at Bet365 > Live streaming > Darts

The five-time World Champion looks to set up a showdown with either Terry Jenkins or Kim Huybrechts in the last 16, but must first dispose of a youngster not short of self-confidence.

Barney has produced some of his best darts at this event over the years, including a magical nine darter en route to the final in 2010; he comes into this year's competition in a rich vein of form having picked up the European Open title earlier this month, beating many big names along the way.

The popular Dutchman could prove too hot to handle for the 22-year-old from St Helens, but the player known as 'Bully' will not be taken lightly by Barneveld as he is an established force on the ProTour circuit.

The embarrassing first round exit to virtual unknown James Richardson at Ally Pally in December may re-enter Barney's mind should he fall behind early on, but he man from the Hague is well-fancied for a good run this week. 

Under the guidance of mentor Gary Anderson, confident youngster Smith has already won a ProTour title in 2012 as well as hitting a nine darter in a Youth Tour event.

Van Barneveld's new approach to the game which has seen him enter nearly all tour events in 2012 and has paid off as he moves back to seventh in the world rankings and seemingly back to his dangerous and relaxed best, a frightening prospect for the rest of the field.

Smith is a fearless character and a renowned heavy scorer, but must keep up the consistency over the longer format against his reliable all-round opponent.

The duo have met twice before in ranking competition, with Barney prevailing on both occasions including 9-4 at their most notable encounter at the 2011 UK Open.

The bookmakers make Barney the huge odds-on favourite to progress over the long format at 1/7, with Smith priced at 9/2 to cause a major upset with Bet365.

The match begins at 10.00pm BST and will be streamed live over the best of 19 legs from the Winter Gardens, Blackpool.
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Raymond van Barneveld v Michael Smith Live Stream World Matchplay Preview

A rejuvenated Raymond van Barneveld begins his World Matchplay campaign looking to avoid a potential scalp as he faces rising star Michael Smith in the final match of the opening night.

Read more »