Gujarat Lions, who were based out of Rajkot, were allowed entry into the Indian Premier League for a 2-year period, in the 2016 and 2017 seasons. They along with RPS were chosen as the replacements for Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, who were suspended for 2 years due to off-field issues. Star players like Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo and James Faulkner were picked by them during the 2016 IPL players draft.
Led by Suresh Raina, the franchise did extremely well in their very first season as they topped the group in the league stages, but couldn't make it to the finals as they lost Qualifier 1 and Qualifier 2 against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. They, however, couldn't follow it up in the next campaign and ended 7th in the league stages.