The result leaves the Chiefs third overall in the Super Rugby table and took them back to the top of the New Zealand conference, while their late comeback denied the Bulls a fourth straight victory.
The visitors claimed four points - two for the draw and two bonus points for scoring five tries - while the Bulls had to settle for two points as Jacques-Louis Potgieter scored 19 points for them.
His first penalty came after 10 minutes to get the scoreboard moving but the Chiefs notched the first try as Cruden's pass allowed Mils Muliaina to wrongfoot the defence and touch down.
The Chiefs struck again as Potgieter's kick was charged down and after the ball had been recovered, Andrew Horrell fed Liam Messam, who grounded the ball with Cruden adding the extras to make it 12-3 to the Chiefs.
The hosts clawed their way back as first Potgieter added his second penalty and Deon Stegmann grabbed their first try as they forced their way over following a line-out. The missed conversion meant the Chiefs led by just a point.
An Anton Lienert-Brown try for the Chiefs was disallowed for a knock-on, but Cruden's successful penalty was some consolation. Potgieter kept the hosts within a point with a kick just before half-time.
The Bulls came out firing at the start of the second period and their efforts were rewarded with a penalty try, with Potgieter adding the extras.
Bjorn Basson then looked to have wrapped things up for the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld as he pounced on a loose ball to touch down, and again Potgieter made no mistake.
Another penalty in the 55th minute took them out to a 31-15 lead but the Chiefs did not give up and Gareth Anscombe rounded off a great team move to bring them back into the contest with 11 minutes left.
All looked lost when Potgieter added his final penalty, but still the visitors were not finished.
Matt Symonds drove over, and although Cruden failed to convert he made amends by touching down with a minute to go, and Anscombe's conversion forced the draw.
- Sports & Recreation
- Jacques-Louis Potgieter
- Super Rugby