The Chiefs beat the Crusaders 20-17 in the first Super Rugby semi-final on Friday night to delight the home crowd in Hamilton's Waikato Stadium.
In a torrid game that went right down to the wire, the Chiefs scored two tries - one each to Liam Messam and Sona Taumalolo - to the Crusaders' one (Ryan Crotty).
Aaron Cruden kicked two conversions and two penalties for the winners while Daniel Carter slotted four penalties for the visitors. The half-time score was 17-11 to the Chiefs.
The Crusaders' chances of adding to their record seven titles faded when Carter missed a chance to pull his side level with four minutes left. His 48-metre kick dropped just short of the posts and the Chiefs held on to the whistle, driving back the last sustained attack with fierce tackling.
The Chiefs will play either the Stormers or the Sharks in the title decider. The two South African sides meet in Cape Town in Saturday night's second semi-final.