The UAE were beaten by two wickets in a rain-hit Asia Cup Qualifier final in Malaysia on Thursday which ended their dream of playing glamorous ties against Pakistan and India on home soil later this month.
Having made his debut in 2007, captain Mustafa has experienced the ups and downs of being part of the national set-up and insists the latest loss was one of the lowest of his international career.
“For me, it was the most painful defeat in my career,” said the 29-year-old. “We are hurting but it’s part of the game. The guys were really emotional especially the youngsters but it’s part of the game because sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I’m confident we will practice hard next time and come back hard again.”
Having arrived back from Kuala Lumpur on Friday, Mustafa says despite failing for the Asia Cup, he reflects back on the Qualifier tournament with plenty of positives.
“Over the last 10 days, the team performance was very good. We played really well against Oman and won four out of six matches,” added the all-rounder.
“We should have qualified for the tournament since it was held in the UAE and it would have been a good opportunity for us to showcase our talent to the world. We are disappointed but still we will watch the games. We wish Hong Kong the best of luck because we want them to perform well.”
Opening batsmen Chirag Suri (220) and Ashfaq Ahmed (224) finished as the top two run-scorers in the tournament while Ahmed Raza was named man of the series after taking 16 wickets.
Mustafa praised those players as well as the experience that Rahul Bhatia and Fahad Nawaz gained.
“We brought in two youngsters on the tour which is very encouraging and they have learnt a lot from that,” added Mustafa. “Suri did a great job and that’s a big positive because he has a long career ahead of him and can be one of the best batsman. Even Ashfaq did a good job as well as Raza with the ball.”
Know more about Sport360 Application