Women’s cricket is the form of the team sport of cricket that is played by women. The first recorded match was in England on 26 July 1745. In November 2021, the International Cricket Council (ICC) retrospectively applied first-class and List A status to women’s cricket, aligning it with the men’s game.
The first recorded match of women’s cricket was reported in The Reading Mercury on 26 July 1745, a match contested “between eleven maids of Bramley and eleven maids of Hambledon, all dressed in white.” The first known women’s cricket club was formed in 1887 in Yorkshire, named the White Heather Club. Three years later a team known as the Original English Lady Cricketers toured England, reportedly making substantial profits before their manager absconded with the money. In Australia, a women’s cricket league was set up in 1894, while in South Africa, Port Elizabeth had a women’s cricket team, the Pioneers Cricket Club. In Canada, Victoria also had a women’s cricket team that played at Beacon Hill Park.
In 1958 the International Women’s Cricket Council (IWCC) was formed to co-ordinate women’s cricket around the world, taking over from the English Women’s Cricket Association, which had been doing the same job in a de facto role since its creation 32 years earlier. In 2005, the IWCC was merged with the International Cricket Council (ICC) to form one unified body to help manage and develop cricket.
Women’s cricket has been played internationally since the inaugural women’s Test match between England women and Australia women in December 1934. The following year, New Zealand women joined them. in 2007 Netherlands women became the tenth women’s Test nation when they made their debut against South Africa women. A total of 141 Women’s Test matches have been played.
women’s One Day Internationals (ODIs) were introduced in 1973 at the inaugural Women’s Cricket World Cup. The 1,000th women’s ODI took place in 2016. Australia has dominated the format, having claimed the World Cup six times and won 80% of their matches.
In 2004, a shorter format still was introduced, with the introduction of women’s Twenty20 International. Initially, women’s Twenty20 cricket was played little at international level, with only four matches played by the end of 2006. However, the following three years saw a rapid growth, with six matches been played in 2007, ten in 2008 and thirty in 2009, which also saw the first ICC Women’s World Twenty20. In April 2018, the ICC granted full women’s Twenty20 International status to all its members.