While South Africa rested four key players in AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn, the result was still a shock as Zimbabwe marked themselves as far more than just minnows in this version of the game.
Masakadza finished with an industrious 58 not out off 50 balls, with two sixes, while Taylor hammered an excellent 59 not out off 41 balls as Zimbabwe handed their big-brother neighbours a thorough hiding with 17 balls to spare.
South Africa clearly have a lot of work to do in the months remaining before the ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka, with more being expected of the support players to their quartet of stars.
Chasing a competitive 147 for victory, Vusi Sibanda bashed 23 off 16 balls before 12th man Farhaan Behardien took a sensational catch at cover-point to dismiss him off Chris Morris.
But there was far more punishment to come as captain Taylor took advantage of a liberal supply of poor deliveries to race to a 32-ball half-century.
Lonwabo Tsotsobe travelled for 20 runs in his first two overs and left-arm spinner Robin Peterson was brought on in the sixth over.
But Taylor swept his first ball for six with superb timing and then hit fours through extra cover and backward point. Masakadza then launched the last ball of the over into the crowd beyond long-on and 21 runs had come from the over.
Masakadza and Taylor brought up their fifty partnership off 32 balls and Zimbabwe’s hundred took just 69 deliveries.
Tsotsobe, purportedly a definite for South Africa’s T20 squad, had a dreadful afternoon, conceding 43 runs in his four overs, but new-ball partner Morris looked dangerous and finished with a commendable one for 24 in his four overs, half of those runs coming from three edged boundaries off his bowling.
Wayne Parnell needs to sort out his no-ball problem in the practices between now and September in Sri Lanka, conceding 27 runs in 3.1 overs, which included another two no-balls.
The hapless Peterson, who had been the most consistent bowler heading into the final, had 35 runs taken off his three overs as the Zimbabweans clearly targeted the experienced spinner.
Then again, the home side played with the intensity and confidence normally associated with the South Africans and were clearly the better side throughout the final.
Faf du Plessis and Albie Morkel had earlier combined to lead South Africa to a comfortable 146 for six.
South Africa had won the toss and elected to bat first, but there were nervous times for the first half of the innings as six for two in the second over became 67 for five in the 12th.
But Du Plessis worked the ball around beautifully to score 66 off 57 balls, while Morkel smoked three fours and a six in his 34 not out off 23 balls, sharing a crucial sixth-wicket stand of 60 in seven overs.
Zimbabwe made a change to their bowling strategy by giving paceman Kyle Jarvis the new ball and he struck with the first ball of the match, an inswinger trapping a flatfooted Richard Levi lbw for a duck.
The start then became disastrous for South Africa when captain Hashim Amla (3) swung a short delivery from Christopher Mpofu to Malcolm Waller running round the square-leg boundary.
Du Plessis and Colin Ingram then added 39 for the third wicket, but it was hard work as Jarvis and Mpofu conceded just 15 runs in the first four overs and spinners Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer were as tight as ever.
There was also a crucial let-off for South Africa as Du Plessis, on 12, sliced Richard Muzhange into the covers but Stuart Matsikenyeri made a stupid mess of the catch.
Ingram fell for 19 when he edged an unsteady cut shot off leg-spinner Cremer to Utseya at short third-man, and Utseya then managed to remove Justin Ontong (5) by clasping a return catch between his legs.
Dane Vilas (2) was also off-balance while trying to cut and was caught behind off Waller to leave South Africa on a decidedly shaky 67 for five.
But the Titans pair of Du Plessis and Morkel, also IPL teammates at the Chennai Super Kings, batted with authority to stabilise the innings and seemingly give South Africa a good chance of avoiding another embarrassing defeat to their neighbours.
Morkel’s hitting power is known worldwide, but the left-hander faced only 23 balls in eight-and-a-half overs, collecting successive boundaries off Cremer at the start of the 13th over and then ending the innings with a majestic six over long-on off Muzhange.
Jarvis put a clamp on the scoring at the death though, and was rewarded with the wicket of Du Plessis, who hit a booming drive down the throat of long-on in the penultimate over.
Parnell hit a couple of clever boundaries in the final over as he finished on 12 not out off six balls.
The Zimbabwe bowlers, barring Muzhange, were all pretty much on target, with Jarvis the pick of the attack as he returned a superb two for 22 in four overs.