EIMEAR RICHARDSON showed her experience in Abu Dhabi yesterday as Ireland began their T20 World Cup qualifying campaign with an ultimately comfortable six-wicket victory over the United Arab Emirates.

What was expected to be easy opening game in Group B proved anything but as the UAE started brightly with the bat before tailing off to post 105-9 and then induced a clatter of four wicket for only 16 runs in the middle of the Ireland reply.

On both occasions 37-year-old Richardson steadied the ship: first with a tidy four overs of off-spin, including a double-wicket maiden, and then in her pivotal role at No 6, hitting 22 not out to ease the Girls in Green home with 23 balls to spare.

Tougher tests against Zimbabwe (on Monday) and the Netherlands lie ahead but coach Ed Joyce will be pleased with the way his side are shaping up, especially wicketkeeper Amy Hunter who completed two smart stumpings and made a brisk 25.

Leg-spinner Cara Murray, who took a wicket with her first ball, also hit the ground running with 1-15 from four overs, while Gaby Lewis claimed one of three runs outs with a direct hit and top-scored with 27 in an opening stand of 52 with Hunter.

When Lewis fell to the last ball of the powerplay, Ireland were cruising, but the loss of another three wickets in the next 25 balls introduced a modicum of doubt before Richardson and Orla Prendergast (22 not out) saw the chase home.