Darts: New Zealand dispatch Denmark to reach second round of World Cup of Darts

New Zealand is through to the second round of the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) World Cup of Darts, after beating Denmark 5-2 in Salzburg, Austria on Saturday (NZ time). 

The team of Cody Harris and Haupai Puha were too strong for the Danish pair Per Laursen and Niels Heinsø and the Kiwi team will face Canada in the round of 16 on Sunday. 

Puha took out finishes of 112 and 100 as he hit the winning double in each of their legs as New Zealand averaged 86.22 in their win. 

The global coronavirus pandemic has made for a unique World Cup event as there was a last-minute decision to not allow fans inside the Salzburgarena, while Singapore and China were forced to withdraw from the tournament due to travel complications. 

Puha had one of the more difficult travel schedules to arrive in Austria as he had to fly from New Zealand where he linked up with Germany-based Harris. 

"It was tough," says Puha. "I got five weeks notice and I had to research if I could leave New Zealand and then I had to raise the funds.

"It wasn't easy but you do whatever you need to chase your dreams. There are dozens of people in NZ who would have given an arm and leg to be here so it's an honour to represent my country." 

Both Harris and Puha are guaranteed  £4,000 (NZ$8,000) each for reaching the second round.

The second round format presents a new challenge as there are two best of seven legs singles matches and If the scores are tied, a best of seven legs doubles match will settle the match.

Last year, Harris and Puha created history by reaching the quarter-finals at the tournament beating Lithuania and South Africa before being eliminated by Japan. 

After the tournament, Puha will remain in Europe as he will represent New Zealand at next month's PDC World Darts Championships.

Puha will be the 14th New Zealanders to compete in the event. 

Meanwhile, other World Cup results saw Canada beat Northern Ireland 5-2, while hosts Austria beat the US by the same scoreline.

Lithuania, Portugal, Greece and Latvia all secured their first-ever World Cup wins with victories over Gibraltar, Hungary Sweden and Hong Kong respectively while top seeds England overcame the Philippines.

Defending champion Scotland, along with Belgium, Spain, Poland, Australia, Wales,Germany and the Netherland also recorded victories to reach the second round.