An improved model for analyzing electrically small NRI-TL antennas is proposed, that highlights the methods that enable these antennas to offer a good impedance match and a high radiation efficiency compared to previously reported designs. An even-odd mode analysis reveals that the antenna supports a predominately even-mode current on the vertical vias, allowing the antenna to be modeled using a multiple folded monopole topology, which provides a substantial increase in the radiation resistance of the antenna. This, together with the top-loading effect of the microstrip line on the vias, enables the antenna to be matched to 50 Omega without the use of an external matching network, while maintaining a high radiation efficiency. The validity of the proposed model is confirmed with a fabricated prototype, that consists of four microstrip zero-degree NRI-TL unit cells with dimensions of lambda0/10 times lambda0/10 times lambda/20 over a 0.45lambda0 times 0.45lambda0 ground plane. The antenna's performance is verified by full-wave simulations and experimental data obtained at 3.1 GHz, which yield a vertical linear electric field polarization, a measured -10dB return-loss bandwidth of 53 MHz and a measured efficiency of 70%.