Cricket was brought to Kenya by colonial settlers, the British and was first played in Mombasa from where it spread inland.
Too poor to afford bats, the first game of cricket played by the Kenyan National Cricket team, all players bar the wicket keeper used tree trunks instead, the wicket keeper, Henry Guwambe, opted to use two stumps tied together with a banana skin.
The first match took place in Mombasa was in 1899, in 1910 a three-day fixture between Officials and Settlers started, this remained the highlight of the domestic calendar until 1964. Another important Fixture was Europeans v Asians which began in 1933.
Kenya's international cricket started in 1951 when regular matches against Tanzania (then Tanganyika) and Uganda began. The first international game was in 1951 when Kenya played Tanganyika (captained by C. de L. Innis, the West Indian representative) 1952 saw a Natal team, Russell Endean scoring a century.
In 1953 the Kenyan Cricket Association was formed, This was the colony's first inter-racial organisation.
Touring teams of varying standard continued over the years, including a team of South African Non-Europeans captained by Basil D'Oliviera in 1958. The South Africans won both matches against Kenya on the tour, in addition to a match against East Africa.
Following their World Cup performance, Kenya were given full ODI status by the ICC, and hosted a quadrangular tournament against Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka in September/October 1996. The Netherlands toured in December, playing four one-day matches, with the Kenyans winning them all. They played in the quarter finals of South Africa's Standard Bank Cup in March 1997, losing to Natal by 104 runs at Kingsmead. Following this was the 1997 ICC Trophy, hosted in Malaysia. Kenya reached the final, where they lost to Bangladesh by two wickets. This was followed by a tri-series against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in October the same year in Nairobi.
England A were the first opposition in 1998, touring Kenya in January. A three-day match was drawn, with England A winning the only one-day match that was not abandoned due to the weather. After this was another spot in the quarter final of the Standard Bank Cup, this time losing to Gauteng by 8 wickets. Kenya visited India in May, playing a triangular ODI series against Bangladesh and India. In the final match of the round-robin stage, Kenya beat India by 69 runs. Kenya then competed in the cricket tournament at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Drawn in the same first round group as New Zealand, Pakistan and Scotland, Kenya only beat the Scots, and finished third in the points table for the group.
Kenya warmed up for the 1999 World Cup with a triangular series in Bangladesh against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. In the 1999 World Cup itself, they were placed in the same first round group as England, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Following warm-up games against Somerset, Gloucestershire and Glamorgan, they lost all five of their games in the tournament proper. Following the World Cup, they played a quadrangular tournament at home against India, South Africa and Zimbabwe, again losing all their games.
The 21st century started for Kenya with a visit to Zimbabwe to play in the ICC Emerging Nations Tournament against Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland and Zimbabwe A. Kenya won the tournament and took this form onto a seven match tour of India on which they lost just one game. Pakistan A toured Kenya in July, playing a five match one-day series and a four-day first-class match. The four-day match was drawn, and Kenya won the one-day series 4-1. The 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy was played in Nairobi in October, with Kenya falling to India at the first hurdle.
The first opponents for Kenya in 2001 were Sri Lanka A, who toured Kenya in January, playing two first-class matches and four one-day matches. Both first-class matches were drawn, and Sri Lanka A won the first two one-day games, with the final two being abandoned. The West Indies came in August for two first-class games and a three match ODI series. The first first-class game was won by the West Indies, with the second being drawn, and the three ODIs all went the way of the visitors. Kenya then played an ODI triangular tournament in South Africa in October, playing against India and the hosts, and picked up a second ODI win over the Indians. Zimbabwe A toured Kenya towards the end of the year, losing a first-class series 1-0 and a one-day series 3-2.
Kenya toured Sri Lanka in early 2002, playing three first-class and three one-day matches against Sri Lanka A. Sri Lanka A won all three of the first-class games, but Kenya won the one-day series 2-1. The MCC toured Kenya shortly after this, playing one three-day match and six one-day matches against the national side. Five of the one-day matches went the way of the Kenyans before the sixth one-day match and the three-day match were abandoned. Kenya then played in the ICC 6 Nations Challenge tournament in Windhoek, Namibia, playing against Canada, Namibia, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka A and Zimbabwe A. Kenya won the tournament, beating Sri Lanka A by 3 wickets in the final. In August/September, Kenya hosted an ODI triangular tournament against Australia and Pakistan, losing all four of their matches. This was followed by a place in the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy, though Kenya lost to the West Indies and South Africa, failing to progress beyond the first round.
Namibia toured Kenya in November, playing four one-day games. Kenya won the series 2-1, with one game being abandoned. Kenya then toured Zimbabwe to round off the year, playing three one-day matches against Zimbabwe A, and a three-match ODI series against the full Zimbabwean side. Zimbabwe won the ODI series 2-0, with one match finishing in a no result, and Zimbabwe A won their series against Kenya 2-1.