• World Cup of Darts

Taylor & Lewis lead England to World Cup glory

ESPN staff
February 5, 2012
Phil Taylor won both his singles matches © Getty Images

England were crowned the 2012 World Cup of Darts champions after they scored a sudden death victory over Australia in Sunday's final.

Hamburg played host to a final featuring the tournament's top two seeds, in a contest that was played over a first-to-four-points format. England roared out of the blocks to lead 3-0, but they visibly tired as Australia pulled back to 3-3. It went to one play-off doubles leg, and after Paul Nicholson, Phil Taylor and Simon Whitlock all missed darts for the match, world champion Adrian Lewis held his nerve for glory.

England had the luxury of fielding a 15-time world champion and the current ruler of world darts, and it reaped early rewards as they stormed into a 2-0 advantage.

Taylor was first up, beating Nicholson 7-4 to set the tone for the evening. A 116 checkout was the highlight for Taylor, who put together three straight legs to put England 1-0 up.

Taylor was followed by his protégé, the reigning world champion Lewis, who showed his big-game quality by peaking at the right moment to defeat Whitlock 7-5. Both players matched each other dart for dart until the 11th leg, when Lewis nailed a 161 checkout to move ahead. His fifth 180 of the contest then gave him the chance to kill off Whitlock, which he did with a 72 finish.

There was little respite for the Australian who was straight back into action against Taylor, but it was the Brit who choked at the start, missing his first 10 darts at the double to fall 3-0 behind. The match changed on a 142 checkout for Taylor that helped him back to parity, and he eventually edged over the line 7-6 to extend England's lead to 3-0.

That left Lewis needing to beat Nicholson in order to avoid a doubles decider, but he could not do it as Nicholson earned one of the biggest wins of his career 7-4. The Australian pair then combined to level the entire contest by taking the doubles, Whitlock closing out a 7-4 victory on the bull.

That led to a sudden-death doubles leg to decide the destination of the trophy. Taylor beat Whitlock in the throw-off for who threw first, but it came down to a farcical shootout for the double.

Nicholson choked first, only to be reprieved by Taylor. Whitlock had been the most deadly man in the doubles but he also got it wrong, allowing Lewis - the most tired player in the match - to close things out with a double-five.

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