But Shrubsole’s capture of opener Punam Raut for 86 was a turning point. At that point India were 191 for 4 with just over seven overs remaining.
Four balls later, it was 196 for 5 when Alex Hartley bowled Sushma Verma.
The momentum had swung and England rattled through the final five wickets shedding only 23 runs.
Shrubsole finished with record figures of six for 46 in 9.4 overs - the first five-wicket haul by any bowler in a Women's World Cup final.
Victory gave England a fourth World Cup title and third on home soil, as they gained revenge for their opening group stage loss to India.
"I'm a little bit lost for words," Shrubsole told Sky Sports. "It was just an unbelievable game, we looked for a minute like we were out of it, but one of the great things about this team is that we never give up.
"We knew if we got a couple of wickets that we'd be right in the game and all was well in the end."
England captain Heather Knight added: "I can't stop smiling. I am so proud of this group of girls. We made it hard for ourselves but I couldn't care less."
Her side had a major rethink under coach Mark Robinson after themselves suffering a batting slump when they lost a Women's World Twenty20 semi-final to Australia in India last year.
"Back in Delhi was a long time ago but it was the making of this team," said Knight. "Anya Shrubsole - what a hero."
India captain Mithali Raj admitted her side had panicked towards the finish.
"Credit to them. They kept their nerve. There was a time when the match was in the balance. We panicked and they came out victorious.
"I would like to tell the girls I am very proud of them. They didn't make any match look easy for the opposition."