Mitchell Marsh plundered a ferocious 77 not out from 50 balls as Australia overhauled what appeared to be a challenging 173 with seven deliveries to spare in Dubai.
The all-rounder shared a dominant stand of 92 with opener David Warner and continued to attack after the opener was bowled for 53 from 38 balls.
Marsh was dropped on 68 but at that stage only 15 runs were needed from 19 balls, the highest chase in a Men’s T20 World Cup final a near certainty.
After Glenn Maxwell hit the winning runs, Marsh was mobbed by his team-mates and dropped to his knees, overcome with emotion having produced his finest Twenty20 innings on the biggest stage.
New Zealand, now beaten in three consecutive white-ball finals, were arguably favourites at the halfway stage after Kane Williamson’s 85 from 48 balls in a total of 172-4 on a slow pitch.
But it was Australia – unfancied before the tournament – who cantered home to join Australia women as T20 world champions.
The Australia celebrations began even before the ball had reached the boundary for the final time, the players rushing on to the field to celebrate with Marsh.
His innings will be remembered as one of the best in a World Cup final, the brutal hitting beginning with an emphatic front-foot pull for six off the first ball he faced.
Player of the tournament Warner, dropped by his Indian Premier League franchise before this tournament, was key too, while Josh Hazlewood earlier took an immaculate 3-16.
Together they helped sealed a win that few expected three weeks ago.
Australia lost their five T20 series leading up to the World Cup – during which they were bowled out for 62 by Bangladesh – and their struggles continued in the group stage when they were thrashed by England.
Marsh was dropped for that eight-wicket defeat but ended the tournament as an unlikely hero in a side that completed a perfectly timed rise.
Having won five 50-over World cups, Australia have now completed the white-ball set and will have home advantage when they defend the title next year.
Worryingly for England supporters, this triumph comes only 24 days before the first Ashes Test. (Courtesy BBC)