If defence wins championships and the Chiefs go on to win the 2020 Super Rugby, then they will look back on this performance against the Crusaders as a key match.
The Waikato side took down the three-time defending champions 25-15 in Hamilton.
Finding themselves down 12-3 early in the match, the Chiefs had to orchastrate another comeback.
Two Sevu Reece tries had the visitors cruising, but a well-worked backline move from the Chiefs saw Soloman Alaimalo cross to make the score 12-8.
The hosts then got to work on defence on their own try line, no matter what the Crusaders threw at them, the hosts fought it off.
Captain Scott Barrrett turned down a number of shots at goal in the opening 40, opting for the lineout with the wind at his back.
But the Chiefs were able to hold on and go into the break down four.
Second-half tries from Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi and Sean Wainui either side of a Crusaders penalty gave them a seven-point lead with 20 to play.
Step up Lachlan Boshier who, made cruciual breakdown turnovers to set up a penalty for Aaron Cruden to kick with a minute on the clock, opening a 10-point gap.
A last-second penalty miss from David Havili at the buzzer denied the Crusaders a bonus-point.
Chiefs 25 (Solomon Alaimalo, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Sean Wainui tries; Aaron Cruden 2 con, 2 pen)
Crusaders 15 (Sevu Reece 2 tries; David Havili con, pen)