Live Darts on Thursday May 31: World Cup of Darts 2018 Day One Preview and Order of Play

Scotland's Gary Anderson and Peter Wright are the number one seeds (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The 2018 World Cup of Darts gets underway in Frankfurt on Thursday with top seeds Scotland aiming to avoid back-to-back First Round exits.

The annual pairs tournament features 32 nations battling it out for the prestigious trophy and £300,000 in prize money at the Eissporthalle in Frankfurt.

Scotland are again seeded number one based on the combined Order of Merit and are out to avert a repeat of last year's shock early exit when they take on the United States.

Premier League duo Peter Wright and Gary Anderson crashed out at the hands of minnows Singapore 12 months ago but will be out to recapture the form which led them to the final in 2015.

USA are once again represented by the veteran duo of Larry Butler, 60, and Darin Young, 45, who have lost out to Netherlands in two of their last three visits to Frankfurt.

Butler famously claimed the inaugural World Matchplay title back in 1994 while Young has nine PDC World Championship appearances under his belt. 

Wales, runners-up in 2010 and 2017, kick-start their quest to go one step further when they take on rank outsiders Thailand.

Gerwyn Price partnered Mark Webster to the final 12 months ago but is now joined by in-form Jonny Clayton - who defeated him in the final of the recent Austrian Open.

The well-fancied Welsh pair open up with a clash against Thanawat Gaweenuntavong and Attapol Eupakaree - who have never made it beyond the First Round stage of this competition.

Simon Whitlock, who partnered Paul Nicholson to the final in 2012, teams up with Kyle Anderson for Australia as they face soft-tip specialists Hong Kong.

Whitlock is an ever-present in the World Cup of Darts and will look to utilise his vast experience over the pairs format alongside the reigning Auckland Masters champion as they meet the unflappable Royden Lam and newcomer Ho Yin Shek.

Eighth seeds Austria - comprised of Mensur Suljovic and Zoran Lerchbacher - look to safely come through a potentially tricky opener against Seigo Asada and Haruki Muramatsu of Japan.

Austria have reached the Quarter-Finals in successive stagings, losing out to England on both occasions but will be wary of the threat posed by the Japanese duo - who have both given fine accounts of themselves on the World Championship stage.

Elsewhere, three-time World Champion John Part links up with Development Tour star Dawson Murschell for the first time as the Canadian duo take on Italy's Michel Furlani and Alessio Medaina.

Part enjoyed a superb run to the Quarter-Finals of the UK Open in March while Murschell has reached a Development Tour final this year while also landing a nine-dart finish.

Toni Alcinas was part of the Spain team which famously ousted England in the inaugural PDC World Cup eight years ago and he joins forces with Cristo Reyes as they take on Russia in a finely-poised tie.

Boris Koltsov and Aleksandr Oreshkin defeated Hong Kong and Australia en route to the Quarter-Finals 12 months ago and will be eyeing another mini giant-killing upon their return.

Momo Zhou will become only the second female ever to feature in this event when she partners 20-year-old Xiaochen Zong for China against Switzerland's Alexander Fehlmann and Andreas Bless.

Diogo Portela makes his first televised appearance since losing to Peter Wright on his World Championship debut when he partners Bruno Rangel for Brazil against veteran Per Laursen and Henrik Primdal of Denmark.

The action gets underway from 6pm BST, with First Round matches to be contested over the best of nine legs (pairs).

World Cup of Darts 2018 Schedule

All times BST (Local time one hour ahead)

Thursday May 31

First Round

Italy v Canada (Furlani & Medaina vs Part & Murschell)
Russia v Spain (Koltsov & Oreshkin vs Reyes & Alcinas)
Switzerland v China (Fehlmann & Bless vs Zhou & Zong)
Denmark v Brazil (Laursen & Primdal vs Portela & Rangel)
Wales v Thailand (Price & Clayton vs Thanawat & Attapol)
Australia v Hong Kong (Whitlock & K Anderson vs Lam & Shek)
Scotland v United States of America (Wright & G Anderson vs Butler & Young)
Austria v Japan (Suljovic & Lerchbacher vs Asada & Muramatsu)

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Live Darts on Thursday May 31: World Cup of Darts 2018 Day One Preview and Order of Play

The 2018 World Cup of Darts gets underway in Frankfurt on Thursday with top seeds Scotland aiming to avoid back-to-back First Round exits.

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