The superlatives do not seem to do Michael van Gerwen's darting season justice this season. His 7-0 thrashing of the usually competitive James Wade in Cardiff last night was as near to Darts' perfection as many spectators will have seen. In doing so, the Dutchman secured his place in the end of season play-offs with games to spare. Behind him the remaining three places are still very much up for grabs, after victories for Stephen Bunting, Raymond van Barneveld and Gary Anderson kept qualification interesting. Phil Taylor may ultimately rue 'merely' taking a point after a drawn tie with Adrian Lewis.

Pride of place in the Welsh capital on night 12 must surely go to 'Mighty Mike' though after his staggering 116.90 three-dart average against Wade.

He was quite simply on fire during their match at the Motorpoint Arena, not allowing 'The Machine' a single dart at a double throughout their one-sided encounter. With five 180 scores and clinical high finishes on 105, 154 and 130, Wade quite simply had no answer. In this form, he will be the odds-on favourite to take the title off his compatriot van Barneveld, when the competition moves to the O2 in London next month for the last 4 play-off stages.

He is not unbeatable though and returned later in the evening to lose 7-5 in a far closer tussle with current world champion Anderson. Perhaps by then his concentration was not as it should be, but the Scot took advantage to edge himself ever closer to the end of season highlight as well.

Even so, van Gerwen missed three darts to claim the draw in the deciding leg, as playing some way below his best he still has the game to compete with most players.

Anderson was clearly hurting after an earlier sub-par performance against Bunting, which allowed the rising St Helens' star to defeat him 7-1. Bunting did what he needed to do to take the points, but would have been surprised by Anderson's average of only 82.98, his worst of the season by far in the event.

The other winner on the night was the reigning champion van Barneveld, who continued his mission to make the top 4 after a slow start this year. He now sits ominously just a point behind Taylor in 5th place and has a game in hand over his arch rival. His close 7-5 victory over second-placed Dave Chisnall may prove decisive in taking 'Barney' through to the London finals.

Chisnall outscored the Dutch maestro but found his opponent to be more clinical around the doubles. The Englishman had the better of the opening exchanges and moved into a 4-2 lead. Van Barneveld must have thought the game was getting away from him at 4-5 behind, but a superb 132 with a bull finish brought him level. He guaranteed a point by winning leg 11 and then capitalised on missed shots by Chisnall to take the win.

Taylor remains 4th but will feel the hot breath of both 'Barney' and Lewis on his back, as they trail by just a point. The two players will play two games apiece next time out, with Taylor clearly hoping that they slip up to allow him to hold on to a play-off place. In truth it could have been worse for him after Cardiff, as he only scraped a 6-6 draw against Lewis by taking the final two legs. He may regret not taking the win though, as van Gerwen is his opponent next week to whet the fans' appetite.

Next stop for the Premier League is Birmingham at the Barclaycard Arena.