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Rob Cross v Michael Smith: The tale of the tape ahead of the World Matchplay final

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 28 Jul 2019
Cross is targeting a first major title since the 2018 World Championship (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Rob Cross and Michael Smith face off for the right to become the new name on the World Matchplay trophy and we’ve crunched the numbers ahead of Sunday’s show-piece.
Cross had fallen at the second hurdle in both previous appearances in this prestigious competition, but has turned on the style to reach his third major final of the season.
The 28-year-old is aiming to finally follow up his fairy-tale World Championship triumph in January 2018 by adding the sport’s second biggest prize to his haul, having finished runner-up in both the UK Open and Premier League this year.
Smith finds himself in a third major final in the space of 14 months, and after finishing runner-up in both the 2018 Premier League and 2019 World Championship, will be desperate to go all the way and finally secure a maiden major title.
His overall record against Cross, however, may be a cause for concern, having won just three of their 15 previous meetings, losing each of their last three including back-to-back Premier League defeats and an 11-7 loss in the Semi-Finals of the UK Open. 
The final gets underway from 7pm BST and will be contested over the best of 35 legs. Should it fail to be won by two clear legs, the match will proceed for a maximum of five additional legs before a sudden death leg is required.

How the two finalists compare

Head-to-Head Record (Since 2017)
Rob Cross 12-3 Michael Smith
Tournament Averages
Cross 99.19
Smith 98.17
Total 180s
Cross 29
Smith 25
Total 140+
Cross 64
Smith 78
Tournament Checkout Percentage
Cross 44%
Smith 41%
180s per leg
Cross 0.32
Smith 0.27
Highest Match Average
Cross 101.83 (QF)
Smith 100.77 (SF)
Highest Checkout
Cross 170
Smith 137

World Matchplay final facts

Longest final: 2018 – Gary Anderson 21-19 Mensur Suljovic
Shortest final: 2009 – Phil Taylor 18-4 Terry Jenkins
Highest winning average: Phil Taylor 111.23 (vs Adrian Lewis, 2013)
Highest losing average: Adrian Lewis 105.92 (vs Phil Taylor, 2013)
Record first prize: £150,000 (2019)