Various aspects of the effect of microstructural randomness exhibited by carbon fibre-reinforced cross-ply laminates on the delamination damage mechanism is investigated in this paper. In the first part, the matrix cracks with different spacings measured in experiments are simulated using finite elements in order to obtain the levels of degradation and effective properties for a composite beam loaded in bending. The results show significant levels of degradation of obtained effective properties depicting the importance of accounting for the inherent stochasticity in these laminates. In the second part of the paper, initiation of delamination at an interface between 0° and 90° layers due to stress concentrations at tips matrix cracks is simulated for a beam under tension. Stochastic cohesive zone elements with fracture parameters presented as random fields are used to model this interface in a composite. Different values of the axial stress are obtained for initiation of damage for a number of realisations based on this approach. The results emphasize the need to take into consideration the microstructural randomness in fibre-reinforced laminates for adequate predictions of damage and load carrying capacities.