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Phil Taylor's top five wins during World Matchplay streak

Sports Mole selects five of Phil Taylor's best victories during his 37-match unbeaten streak at the World Matchplay in Blackpool.

Phil Taylor is regarded as the best player to ever throw a dart because of his 16 world titles, but his performances at the World Matchplay have also gone a long way to cementing his legacy in the sport.

Since 2000, the Stoke-on-Trent player has won 13 of the 15 Matchplay titles on offer, with his last defeat in 2007 preceding 'The Power' putting together a 37-match winning streak at the tournament ahead of his quarter-final tie with Dave Chisnall at this year's event on Friday evening.

Below, Sports Mole takes a look at some of Taylor's most notable victories during a remarkable spell of dominance in Blackpool.

1. Adrian Lewis (2009 quarter-final)

After failing to defend his Premier League crown, Taylor responded with a relatively comfortable triumph at the UK Open, but he was still under pressure to defend his World Matchplay crown and victories over Robert Thornton and Kevin Painter for the loss of just seven legs had gotten him off to the perfect start.

However, lying in wait in the last eight was rising talent and former practice partner Adrian Lewis, who was gradually establishing himself as a force in the sport, but he was powerless to resist a tremendous display from his fellow Stokie.

The nine-time champion raced into a 5-0 advantage, and although Lewis would reduce the deficit to three legs, Taylor reeled off 10 legs in a row on the way to an emphatic 16-3 victory.

Taylor hit 14 maximums during the rout, which also saw him average 109.42, and a 10th title would be claimed after he dropped just 10 more legs in comfortable wins over Mervyn King and Terry Jenkins.

Phil Taylor of England celebrates winning his first round match against Jyhan Artut of Germany on Day Two of the William Hill PDC World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace on December 19, 2014© Getty Images

2. Barrie Bates (2010 first round)

The following year saw Taylor begin the defence of his crown with a first-round tie with experienced Welshman Barrie Bates, and it was expected that Taylor would breeze into the last 16.

However, a host of missed doubles saw Taylor find himself 5-4 down to leave what would be a monumental shock a possibility, but Taylor responded by taking six of the next seven legs to run out a 10-6 winner.

Despite the match being relatively competitive, it will be remembered for Taylor's average of 114.99, a record for the Matchplay. Over 16 legs, it was a phenomenal achievement, especially given the number of doubles missed during the early stages, and while he averaged over 118 over 10 legs against Painter at the UK Open, this will go down as one of his best performances, from an average perspective at least.

3. James Wade (2012 final)

Between 2000 and 2004, Taylor won five successive Matchplay titles, and after reaching the final in 2012, he gave himself the chance to replicate that achievement against James Wade, who had edged out Michael van Gerwen and Terry Jenkins to reach his fifth final.

A year earlier, Taylor had romped to an 18-8 success over the left-hander, but on this occasion, Wade remained in touching distance throughout as Taylor failed to open up an advantage of more than two legs, with the score reaching 10-10 just after the halfway stage.

Taylor would make his burst for the line with four legs in a row, but after 29 legs, Wade had the momentum after getting back to 15-14. However, he narrowly missed attempts at 140 and 144 checkouts, and that proved to be the difference as Taylor saw out the win.

Both men would average below 100, while just 15 maximums were hit in 33 legs, but this contest is generally considered to be one of the best finals in the tournament's history.

Phil Taylor of Britain reacts as he takes part in the PDC World Championship darts final against Michael van Gerwen of the Netherlands on January 1, 2013© Getty Images

4. Adrian Lewis (2013 final)

The 2013 final saw Taylor face Lewis at the Winter Gardens for the first time since his demolition job in 2009, but on this occasion, Lewis was regarded as the second-best player in the world after winning the PDC World Championships in 2011 and 2012.

With Van Gerwen also emerging as a potential heir to Taylor's throne at the top of the sport, there was a feeling that a changing of the guard was beginning to take place, but in this showdown, Taylor showed that he still had the desire to compete and outlast his younger rivals.

Lewis recorded 19 180s and average just below 106, but he was made to pay for a mid-game slump that allowed Taylor, who averaged 111.23, to move four legs clear and comfortably hold on for a sixth title.

Later in 2013, the duo were involved in a match at the Grand Slam of Darts that is largely considered to be their most entertaining game, but in terms of averages over a best-of-35 contest, this match is unlikely to be bettered.

5. Michael van Gerwen (2014 final)

After winning his first world title, Van Gerwen was favoured to carry his form to the World Matchplay as he sought to break Taylor's dominance at the event, and although he didn't produce his best form throughout the tournament in 2014, he ended up securing a showdown with Taylor.

However, after seemingly losing his "fear-factor", Taylor was motivated to make a statement and he did that during the opening 10 legs by surging into an 8-2 advantage.

Taylor's start was enough to discourage any ambition that Van Gerwen had of glory, and although he shared the next eight legs, another strong move from Taylor saw him pull clear to register an 18-9 win with an average of 107.27.

This win made it seven in a row for Taylor, taking his undefeated streak to 35 matches, and it remains to be seen whether anyone has the quality and consistency to prevent the 54-year-old from claiming an eighth consecutive title over the next three days.

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Michael van Gerwen of Holland celebrates winning a leg during his third round match against Terry Jenkins of England during the William Hill PDC World Darts Championships on Day Nine at Alexandra Palace on December 29, 2014
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