Seamer Umar Gul scalped three prize wickets as Pakistan kept India down to 157-5 in the World Twenty20 final at the Wanderers here.
Opener Gautam Gambhir top-scored for India with 75 off 54 balls, studded with eight boundaries and two sixes, but none of the other batsmen settled in to play a long innings.
The best partnership in the innings after India won the toss and elected to take first strike was between Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh, who put on 63 for the third wicket.
Gul dismissed Yuvraj, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Gambhir to finish with 3-28 in front of a sell-out crowd of 32,000 waving Indian and Pakistani flags.
India's total was boosted by Rohit Sharma and Irfan Pathan who plundered 27 runs in the final two overs. Sharma remained unbeaten on a 16-ball 30.
Pakistan, who have never beaten India in a World Cup or a world championship match, chase a target of eight runs an over to take the title in the inaugural tournament of the shortest version of the game.
India suffered a blow when aggressive opener Virender Sehwaq was ruled out of the key match with a thigh strain sustained during Saturday's semi-final against Australia in Durban.
Yousuf Pathan, elder brother of all-rounder Irfan Pathan who replaced Sehwag, made a dramatic start to his international career after being sent in to open the batting.
Pathan survived a run-out scare off the first ball of the match and smashed the fourth ball from Mohammad Asif over long-on for six.
Pathan made 15 when he holed out to Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik attempting another big hit off Asif.
It soon became 40-2 in the sixth over when Robin Uthappa spooned an easy catch to Shahid Afridi in the covers off left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir.
The in-form Yuvraj, who fashioned India's wins over England and Australia with a flurry of sixes, managed only 14 when he top-edged an easy return catch to Gul to make India 103-3 in the 14th.
Gul made a further dent in India's batting in his next over when he clean bowled Dhoni for six and then removed Gambhir in the 18th over to a catch at short fine-leg.