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Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Phil Taylor's fairytale ending may have one last chapter

Rob Cross can push Van Gerwen

Phil Taylor is taking to the Alexandra Palace stage for the last time
1 of 1

William Hill World Championship semi-finals
Sky Sports Arena, 7.30pm Saturday

J Lewis v P Taylor
Head-to-head: Taylor leads 2-0
Jamie Lewis was a 1,000-1 shot to lift the William Hill World Championship before a dart was thrown but now the preliminary-round qualifier is incredibly just a 7-2 chance to book his place in the Alexandra Palace final. 

The small figure of 16-time world champion Phil Taylor, making his last appearance on the World Championship stage, stands in his way. 

It's a fascinating match from a betting perspective too. Lewis had shown little on tour this season before rocking up at Ally Pally but has managed to dismantle Kenny Neynes, Jonny Clayton, Peter Wright, James Richardson and Darren Webster on his way to the last four.

The question for punters is will it be the Lewis who has failed to make it past the last 16 of any event bar the World Championship qualifiers this year, or the Lewis who has dropped just three sets on the way to the semi-finals of the biggest tournament in darts?

It's difficult to weigh up but at the prices it looks worth siding with the Power. Lewis was a 6-1 shot against Snakebite over the best-of-seven-set format in the second round and Rasta is now just 7-2 in a first-to-six contest against Taylor.

Either the bookmakers believe Wright to be a far superior thrower to the Power, or it's one hell of a re-rating of the Welshman's chance. 

It's possible that the market may have swung too far in the favour of Lewis and given the gravitas of the occasion it could pay to support Taylor on the handicap.

The Power is being asked to give Lewis a 2.5-set start and he looks worth supporting to claim a 21st and closing World Championship final appearance in style.

Recommendation
P Taylor -2.5 sets
1pt 8-13 general

M van Gerwen v R Cross
Head-to-head: Van Gerwen leads 8-1
Michael van Gerwen was put under maximum pressure by Raymond van Barneveld in the quarter-finals and survived, but the Green Machine could face another tough test against Rob Cross. 

Van Gerwen scores so heavily that his finishing doubles are not often put under too much pressure, but as Barney and Gerwyn Price before him showed, if you can keep tabs on MVG he does have a vulnerability when trying to finish legs. 

Cross has hit 40 maximums in the tournament, has averaged at least 98 - including 104 and 103 three-dart scores against Seigo Asada and Michael Smith - in his four Ally Pally contests and you get the impression there is still more to come.

This is the Hastings man's first appearance at the PDC showpiece and there is likely to be room for further progress from the impressive Kent chucker. 

It may be too much to ask Voltage to shock Van Gerwen on this occasion but staying within three sets of the Dutchman looks well within his grasp. 

Recommendation
R Cross +3.5 sets
1pt 4-6 general


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Either the bookmakers believe Wright to be a far superior thrower to the Power, or it's one hell of a re-rating of the Welshman's chance
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