A clash of the World Champions sees reigning and three-time PDC World Champion Michael van Gerwen take on reigning and three-time BDO king Glen Durrant in a mouth-watering Second Round tie at the World Matchplay on Tuesday.
The first televised encounter between the two tungsten titans sees red hot debutant ‘Duzza’ looking to subject MVG to another early exit in the midst of a below-par run form.
For Durrant, this could signal an ideal time to be facing the world number one – who enters the clash on the back of a 93 average and 27 missed darts at doubles in stumbling past Steve Beaton on Sunday night.
Van Gerwen made a rip-roaring start to the season, following up his Masters triumph with six ranking titles and a defence of his Premier League crown.
In the subsequent two months, he has been somewhat less rampant, losing in the Semi-Finals of the World Cup of Darts and the final of the Dutch Masters, before back-to-back early exits in the World Series.
Durrant, meanwhile, is on cloud nine having marked a dream debut on a stage he had only dreamed of playing on with a 10-4 rout of Adrian Lewis and a 101 average to boot.
A winner of two ProTour events in his first six months as a PDC Tour Card holder, the Middlesbrough ace has long since silenced the doubters and is holding his own among the sport’s elite, with victory here perhaps on par with equalling Eric Bristow’s record of three straight Lakeside crowns.
Durrant has already offered the Dutchman a glimpse of what he can do in their only previous competitive meeting, storming to a 7-2 victory with a 110 average in the Semi-Finals of Players Championship 15 in May.
Van Gerwen has registered eight consecutive individual match averages of below 100 for the first time since 2011 and will be determined to resume normal service and send out a clear message to his outspoken rivals.
The green machine has not lost at this stage of the competition since 2008 and will look to utilise his vast experience of his long-haul format and turn up the heat on the Teessider.
The match gets underway from around 10.15pm BST and will be contested over the best of 21 legs. It must be won by two clear legs and will proceed for a maximum of five additional legs before a sudden death leg is required.
Either 2007 champion James Wade or 2018 runner-up Mensur Suljovic will await the winner in Thursday’s Quarter-Finals.
Van Gerwen: “I always want to throw well and perform the best I can but it’s not always possible,” he added.
“That makes it sometimes quite difficult but it’s also a part of darts it makes you stronger at the end of the road.
“You have to accept that you’re not a robot but I put all my time into this game so that I can perform, and when I don’t perform it hurts. I think I want it too much.”
Durrant: “It’s PDC World Champion vs BDO World Champion live on Sky, Middlesbrough is going to be bouncing and I’m a proud man.
“Last 16 of the World Matchplay to play Michael van Gerwen – this is why I came to the PDC.
“I want to showcase my talents, I’m a proud BDO champion and I want to take on the best players in the world and on Tuesday night I play the best.
“Michael van Gerwen is the best player in the world by a country mile.
“I came to the PDC and I’ve watched them all, but if Michael turns up on Tuesday then I’ve got my hands full.”