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World Darts Championship Day 12 preview

Thursday marks the end of the third round of the World Championship with eight more players jockeying to get into the last 16 of the tournament.

It is one of the most open contests in years and it was blown further apart on Tuesday evening as Peter Wright was dumped out 4-1 by Belgium's Kim Huybrechts. 

Number five seed Luke Humphries is the highest-ranked player in action on Thursday as he searches for a first big TV title following a memorable year that has seen him climb up the rankings. He takes on Dutch speedster Vincent van der Voort.

Dirk van Duijvenbode and Ross Smith meet in a repeat of last year's seven-set classic, while 2018 winner Rob Cross faces Mervyn King. 

Dave Chisnall and Stephen Bunting also face off in a match between two of the St Helens contingent in this year's championship. 

Humphries searches for a maiden big win

What: Luke Humphries v Vincent van der Voort 
When: Thursday 29th December 2022
Where: Alexandra Palace, London 
How to watch: Sky Sports Darts 
Odds: Humphries 2/7, Van der Voort 11/4

2022 has been a magical year for Humphries and sealing his first-ever big TV ranking title would cap it off brilliantly. 

The 27-year-old has always been blessed with bundles of talent and finally everything has come together this year with a first Players Championship win followed by a quartet of trophies on the European Tour. 

Those successes have propelled him up the rankings and now he is regarded as one of the elite players in the world, with a call-up to next year's Premier League seemingly very close. 

His second-round match against German Floran Hempel was very uncomfortable and he was forced to come through a five-set contest to book his place in the last 32. 

Up next, he faces the experienced Dutchman Van der Voort who brushed aside Cameron Menzies to earn a spot in round three. 

His rapid-fire playing style has earned plenty of fans but he has never had a great record in the Worlds with a couple of quarter-finals to show from 15 appearances. 

Ultimately, if Humphries plays his A-game then he should win. 

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Van Duijvenbode and Smith meet in repeat of last year

What: Dirk van Duijvenbode v Ross Smith 
When: Thursday 29th December 2022
Where: Alexandra Palace, London 
How to watch: Sky Sports Darts 
Odds: Van Duijvenbode 8/11, Smith 11/10

In the 2022 PDC World Championship Smith was three sets up against Van Duijvenbode but the Dutchman powered back to win 4-3. 

Lots of water has passed under the bridge since then with "Smudger" now a major title winner following his win over Michael Smith in the European Championship. 

Smith's cool demeanour and measured playing style is in complete contrast to the "Titan" who is an explosive jack-in-the-box character. 

No player hits more 180s than Van Duijvenbode but he is still waiting for that elusive first major win, having not reached a major TV final since 2020. 

He has the ability to go all the way but this will be a very tricky contest and one that should go the full distance if both players turn up.

Cross faces King looking for a second title

What: Rob Cross v Mervyn King 
When: Thursday 29th December 2022
Where: Alexandra Palace, London 
How to watch: Sky Sports Darts 
Odds: Cross 2/9, King 10/3 

Cross came into this tournament on the back of some good form having finished runner-up to Michael van Gerwen in the Players Championship Finals at Minehead. 

Only a stupendous display from MvG, aided by a nine-darter, stopped "Voltage" from taking the title and he is in the running for another win here. 

He produced some excellent darts to defeat the dangerous Scott Williams 3-1 before Christmas and now faces veteran King, who is hoping for a renaissance after a disappointing 2022. 

The former BDO finalist has barely figured on TV this year having slid down the rankings and is defending a fourth round meeting with Gerwyn Price from two years ago. 

King has won four of their seven meetings though Cross does have the form ranking advantage. 

Old friends meet at Ally Pally

What: Dave Chisnall v Stephen Bunting 
When: Thursday 29th December 2022
Where: Alexandra Palace, London 
How to watch: Sky Sports Darts 
Odds: Chisnall 2/5, Bunting 2/1 

Chisnall and Bunting meet in a very important contest on the Alexandra Palace stage with the pair defending prize money and ranking points from two years ago. 

Chisnall was beaten by Gary Anderson while Bunting was downed by eventual champion Price so a loss here would lead to a drop in rankings. 

It should be a closely fought game - Chisnall has played some excellent darts this year and is a 180 machine on song. 

Bunting has had a very consistent year on tour too and looked good against Leonard Gates despite several missed doubles.

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