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16 May 2018 by TSZ

2018 Unibet Premier League Darts Semi-Finals – Michael van Gerwen vs Rob Cross Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When? Thursday 17th May

Where? The O2, London

What channel is it on? Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action

Where can I stream the match? Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via Sky Go

Are tickets still available? www.axs.com

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

CAREER HEAD-TO-HEAD
Michael van Gerwen 10-2 Rob Cross

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN

  • Defending champion Michael van Gerwen enters the play-offs as the number one seed having topped the league table for the sixth consecutive season. He has never failed to make it through to the final and is aiming to win the title for the third successive year.
  • Van Gerwen won 11 of his 16 fixtures in the league phase – he won nine of his first ten matches but picked up only two wins from his last six matches.
  • Mighty Mike averaged over 100 in 15 of his 16 league matches and no other Premier League competitor comes close to matching his overall tournament average of 103.56. The Dutch dynamo also finished the league season with the highest tournament checkout percentage (45.4%).

ROB CROSS

  • World Champion Rob Cross earned qualification for the play-offs at his first attempt by finishing fourth in the league table and he is bidding to become the first player since Michael van Gerwen in 2013 to lift the Premier League title on his debut in the tournament.
  • Cross lost his opening two matches in the league phase before going on a run of eight wins from his next nine matches, but he comes into the play-offs without a win during his last five Premier League fixtures.
  • Voltage has a tournament checkout percentage of 44.9% going into the play-offs – only Michael van Gerwen has a better success rate on the doubles.

THE PREDICTION

When these two players last faced-off in a semi-final last December at the World Championship, Rob Cross ousted Michael van Gerwen in a last-leg decider on his way to winning the title. They have met twice in the Premier League since that encounter with Mighty Mike gaining his revenge by trouncing Cross 7-2 on both occasions, the most recent of those being only two weeks ago when Van Gerwen was in unstoppable form in recording an average in excess of 111.

Cross pulled out of the Dutch Darts Masters last weekend with a chest problem. It’s nothing major and he should be more refreshed after having a rare weekend off in preparation for the play-offs. Van Gerwen did play in the Dutch Darts Masters and won the tournament despite not playing his best; that win was his 11th tournament win of 2018 and he looks determined to add the Premier League title to that tally.

Cross has proven he can compete with and defeat Van Gerwen on the big occasion, but he hasn’t shown enough of his World Championship winning form in recent months to suggest he is in good enough shape to repeat his epic World Championship semi-final triumph. Van Gerwen has yet to lose in a Premier League semi-final and that run should continue with victory over a valiant Rob Cross.

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