I agree that the second image could have undertones of helping the virus rather than fighting it. This has to do with my—Western culture's—association with directions. Disclaimer: I never understood something as complicated as cricket, so the 'defensive' association of the batter is completely lost on me.
In cultures that (mainly) read from left to right, this direction has become the norm for being 'forward'. 'Forward' has also become attached to 'future', 'growth', and 'getting ahead'. A person in an image who is looking to the right is looking forward, hopeful for the future and progressive. A (possibly suggested) line from roughyl bottom left to top right emulates a graph with an upwards line, suggesting growth and advancement.
Conversely, directions to the left of the page are 'going backwards', reminiscing, looking at the past. A line from top left to bottom right suggests deflation, decrease and recession.
Do note that design psychology tricks like these will not give viewers a conscious feeling of 'going forward' or 'promotion'. It is something that has subconsciously become attached to the way they look at things, and this is a cultural phenomenon. A good comparison would be colour psychology, which also attaches strong, more or less conscious responses and associations, but is also heavily culture-dependent.
None of this is hard science. People's impressions and the strength of the impression may differ, depending on their culture, background and other factors.