A tale of two Lukes as Littler and Humphries go head to head in world championship final

Luke Littler’s teenage dream concludes when he faces Luke Humphries in the World Championship final on Wednesday evening.

The 16-year-old is the youngest ever player to reach the decider in a remarkable Alexandra Palace journey, but he will face the toughest test yet against the new world number one.

Here is a look at how the players match up.

Routes to final

The pair have had differing journeys to the final. Despite his tender years, Littler has had the most serene path, dropping just six sets. He proved he is already at a level to compete with the very best as he took out UK Open champion Andrew Gilding, walloped five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld and then beat 2018 title winner Rob Cross in stunning fashion.

Humphries’ route has been a little rockier as he was taken to a final-set decider against Ricardo Pietreczko in the third round and then needed a sudden-death leg to beat Joe Cullen in the fourth. He looks to be coming into form just at the right time, though, as he whitewashed Scott Williams 6-0 in the semi-final, producing the 10th best three-dart average ever at the Alexandra Palace, with six 100+ checkouts.

Big scoring

The teenager created history in his first-round win over Christian Kist by recording the highest average of a debutant at the World Championship and that set the tone for a high-scoring performance. Littler’s three-dart tournament average is 101.82, he has thrown 50 180s and crucially is operating at a 45 per cent success rate on checkouts.

Humphries’ average is slightly down at 99.33, but he has also thrown a half-century of maximums and has taken out 41 per cent of his double attempts.

Unbeaten streaks

Both players are in supreme form and are on long unbeaten streaks. Humphries is the form player in the world and extended his winning run to 18 when he beat Williams to reach the final. It was October 29 when ‘Cool Hand’ last lost, going down to James Wade in the European Championship. He won the Players Championship a week later, which was his third major title in six weeks.

Littler is also used to winning and is unbeaten in 21 matches going back to August in PDC events, which included him winning the World Youth Championship.

Rapid rises

Humphries’ formidable display against Williams in the semi-final saw him climb to the top of the world rankings, leapfrogging Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith. It is reward for his stunning form over the last couple of months, where he won his first major titles. His rise has been rapid, but Littler’s has been meteoric.

The teen headed into the tournament ranked 164 in the world but is already up to 31st. If he can get over the line in the final, he will climb into the top 10.