The Sharks booked their spot in next week's knockouts after fighting their way back from 6-15 down at half-time to overcome the Cheetahs 34-15.
But victory came in controversial circumstances as it looked like number nine Charl McLeod had knocked possession on before recollecting and scoring what proved to be a match-swinging try in the second-half. Use of the TMO was snubbed.
That score on 58 minutes subsequently sucked the life out of the visitors as the hosts capitalised with a further try - their third of the game - from flanker Marcell Coetzee to make it 27-15 on 61 minutes before number eight Ryan Kankowski went over in the 74th to add the gloss of a bonus.
The hosts' interest in the competition looked to be quickly slipping away after the first 40 minutes as they trailed 15-6 thanks to five penalties from the cultured boot of Cheetahs fly-half Riaan Smit.
But a strong half-time talk from head coach John Plumtree seemed to have reinvigorated them and they scored 28 unanswered points after the break.
It took fifteen minutes before the deadlock was broken after a physical opening, during which both packs tried to assert their dominance.
The coastal outfit went ahead via a twelfth minute Frederic Michalak penalty after WP Nel failed to roll away following the first real passage of attacking play from the Sharks.
But the visitors hit back immediately after Coetzee did exactly the same at the other end.
The Cheetahs number ten put his scrapping side in front after nineteen minutes when centre Frans Steyn was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle on Robert Ebersohn.
Lwazi Mvovo was next to cough up three points for his side, who looked to be getting increasingly frustrated by their lack of possession, as the left winger failed to release.
When the Sharks finally managed to get forward, on the half-hour mark, they were awarded a penalty, with flank Heinrich Brussow illegally stealing the ball as Michalak cut the deficit.
McLeod, however, played his opposite number, Piet van Zyl, off the ball in front of the posts moments later, and Willem Alberts gave away another kickable penalty on the stroke of half-time. Both were slotted over by Smit, giving the visitors a nine-point cushion at the interval.
Plumtree's men came out firing after the restart, though, and Daniel scored his sixth try of the season in the 44th minute when he was on the end of a move that began at the kick-off.
The hosts scored twice more, on either side of the hour mark. JP Pietersen's burst and kick first allowed McLeod to cross, before Coetzee sliced through to score underneath the posts.
Kankowski added the bonus try when he broke away six minutes from the full-time whistle.
Tries: Daniel, McLeod, Coetzee, Kankowski
Con: Michalak 4
Pen: Michalak 2
Pen: Smit 5
Sharks: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Keegan Daniel (capt), 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Jandre Marais, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Pieter-Steph du Toit/Jean Deysel, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Meyer Bosman/Paul Jordaan, 22 Louis Ludik.
Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Barry Geel, 11 Philip Snyman, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Ashley Johnson, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Andries Strauss.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Reuben Rossouw (South Africa)
Television match official: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)