The team of Cody Harris and Haupai Puha have recorded the best ever placing for New Zealand at the World Cup of Darts, bowing out in the quarterfinals to Japan.
Harris and Puha lost their respective singles matches to Seigo Asada and Haruki Muramatsu, ending their World Cup campaign in Hamburg, Germany. Harris suffered a 4-1 defeat to Asada, the second-highest ranked player on the PDC Asian tour. Meanwhile, Puha tried valiantly to mount a comeback against Muramatsu, only to lose 4-3. The result was an historic one for Japan, as they became the first Asian country to reach the final four at the World Cup.
Earlier, Harris and Puha reached the quarters by beating South Africa 2-1.
Having tied the singles matches 1-1, the match was sent to a doubles decider. South Africa's Vernon Bouwers missed this shot to keep them in the match, before Puha, who had earlier missed six chances to close the game out, nailed double 20 to advance.
In the first round, they comfortably beat Lithuania 5-1. New Zealand's previous best finishes at the World Cup were in 2010 and 2015, when they lost in the second round to Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.
Harris and Puha can now share the spoils of victory, in the form of a $30,000 payout. Both men will be in action at the upcoming New Zealand Darts Masters in Hamilton in August.
The World Cup of Darts was eventually won by Scotland, who beat the Republic of Ireland in the final.